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WASHINGTON: The Biden administration has extended invitations to 120 global leaders for next week’s Summit for Democracy, including representatives from eight countries that were not invited to the White House’s inaugural summit in 2021.

That is according to a senior administration official, who spoke to The Associated Press on the condition of anonymity to discuss the yet-to-be-publicly-released invitations. The countries of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Gambia, Honduras, Ivory Coast, Lichtenstein, Mauritania, Mozambique, and Tanzania were extended invitations to this year’s summit after being left out of the invite list to the 2021 gathering.

Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskyy is slated to take part in a pre-summit event on Tuesday (Mar 28) focused on Ukraine with Secretary of State Antony Blinken.

This year’s summit takes place next Wednesday and Thursday. It will be co-hosted by the governments of Costa Rica, the Netherlands, South Korea and Zambia. The first day of the summit will be a virtual format and will be followed by hybrid gatherings in each of the host countries with representatives from government, civil society and the private sector participating.

The world has seen big change since the December 2021 summit with countries emerging from the global pandemic and Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the largest-scale war in Europe since World War II that has devastated the eastern European country and rattled the global economy.

The president will look to make the case that the events of the last year have put into stark relief that democratic government grounded in the rule of law and the will of the governed remains – despite its frequent messiness – the best system to promote prosperity and peace, according to White House officials.

Biden initially proposed the idea of a democracy summit during his 2020 campaign and has repeatedly made the case that the US and like-minded allies need to show the world that democracies are a better vehicle for societies than autocracies.