(Washington) Joe Biden on Wednesday called on democracies to unite against Russia and China, during a summit during which he must promise to inject 690 million dollars against their decline in the world.

The US president opened the second edition of his “Democracy Summit”, where leaders of 121 countries, including India and Israel, are invited, whose two leaders are defending themselves against critics accusing them of rolling back the rights in their country.

The summit must work to “hold Russia accountable” for the war in Ukraine and “show that democracies are strong and determined,” the Democratic president said in a brief introductory remark Wednesday morning.

Democracy is “under attack” and needs to be “revived”, said South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol, one of the co-hosts of the mostly virtual summit along with Costa Rica, the Netherlands and Zambia. And if the fears come for many from the ambitions of China and Russia, the democracies themselves are also under pressure.

Israeli Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu, shaken by a highly contested justice reform project, assured that the alliance between his country and the United States was “unshakeable” and that Joe Biden had been his “friend for 40 years”.

After announcing a pause in his reform on Monday, he argued on Wednesday that a “balance” could “be struck” between “the need to strengthen executive and legislative powers and … the need to protect individual rights.”

The day before, the American president had declared that he “hoped” that the Israeli government would “give up” on this reform. “They can’t continue down this path and I think I made my point,” he said.

Narendra Modi, India’s prime minister criticized for kicking out a leading opposition figure from parliament on Friday, called India “the mother of democracy”, a notion that “is not just a structure, but also a spirit “.

Joe Biden, in distributing the invitations to 121 countries, avoided leaders with controversial power practices, such as Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban.

“We are not trying to define which countries are or are not democracies,” said a spokesperson for American diplomacy, in the face of disappointed observers of the rapprochement initiated by Mr. Biden with leaders accused of authoritarian excesses. Mr. Biden thus visited Saudi Arabia and Egypt last year, two countries absent from this high mass.

This envelope must be used to promote the holding of fair and free elections, the defense of human rights and freedom of the press, as well as the fight against corruption, he said, specifying that it will be added to the 400 million released during the first summit in 2021.

The threats posed by new technologies must also occupy a large part of the debates, in particular the question of spyware. The US executive is to announce an initiative to combat their use.

The United States, which identifies China as the only long-term danger to the liberal international order led by Washington, has invited Taiwan to the summit, even though the island is not recognized by Washington.

For a Beijing spokeswoman, this event “stirs up division in the name of democracy”.

Russian Ambassador to Washington Anatoly Antonov has accused the United States of hypocrisy. “We have seen the disastrous consequences of US attempts to force the export of democracy in Iraq, Libya and Afghanistan,” he said.

Democratic values ​​”are under attack”, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said at the summit, pointing to attacks on press freedom and against human rights defenders.

“Today we see more and more despotism and less and less Enlightenment,” he said.

“I fundamentally believe that we need to rethink together, collectively, democratically, our international institutions,” said French President Emmanuel Macron.

“It is in this very concrete perspective, to rethink our multilateral financial institutions, that I myself wanted to bring together next June in Paris all the actors who wish to take part in their refoundation”, declared the leader, himself. even strongly shaken in France by the opposition to its reform of the pension system.