This answer to Did the Biden administration have a working definition of democracy when it chose which countries to invite to its "democracy summit"? cites US government officials and reports that say that a total of 111 countries were invited to participate the Biden administration's December 2021 Democracy Summit, and for the selection process includes descriptions like:

...a stated desire to be "as inclusive as possible" and ensure participation among "a regionally diverse set of well-established and younger democracies whose progress and commitments will advance a more just and peaceful world."


  • The United States reached out to a regionally diverse set of well-established and younger democracies whose progress and commitments will advance a more just and peaceful world.
  • Our goal is to be as inclusive as possible. We are working to ensure that all relevant voices and viewpoints feed into the Summit process.

Of the presently stated 111 invitees or of any perhaps not so publicly mentioned, did any country decline or refuse to participate? If so, were any reasons provided publicly or at least reported?

1 Answer 1


Both Pakistan and South Africa were invited yet declined to participate. Both countries appear on the State Department's participant list, yet on December 8th, Pakistan's Ministry of Foreign Affairs released the below statement:

We are thankful to the United States for inviting Pakistan for participation in the Summit for Democracy, being held virtually on 9-10 December 2021.

Pakistan is a large functional democracy with an independent judiciary, vibrant civil society, and a free media. We remain deeply committed to further deepening democracy, fighting corruption, and protecting and promoting human rights of all citizens. In recent years, Pakistan has instituted wide-ranging reforms aimed at advancing these goals. These reforms have yielded positive results.

We value our partnership with the U.S. which we wish to expand both bilaterally as well as in terms of regional and international cooperation. We remain in contact with the U.S. on a range of issues and believe that we can engage on this subject at an opportune time in the future.

Pakistan will, meanwhile, continue to support all efforts aimed towards strengthening dialogue, constructive engagement, and international cooperation for the advancement of our shared goals.

I don't think South Africa has released an official statement on President Ramaphosa's non-attendance, however the Daily Maverick has carried statements from his acting spokesman, Tyrone Seale, as well as International Relations and Cooperation Minister, Naledi Pandor:

The president’s acting spokesperson, Tyrone Seale, offered the West African visit as a reason for the Ramaphosa not attending Biden’s summit.

“We are just wrapping up our West Africa visit today. We will not be summiting,” he told Daily Maverick.


International Relations and Cooperation Minister Naledi Pandor hinted at another reason for declining the invitation, in an interview with Daily Maverick journalist Carien du Plessis last Saturday in Accra, Ghana.

Pandor said she had received the invitation letter the day before and that she was taken aback.

“The letter says things like, ‘America, a country that has always supported human rights.’ Really?”

Pandor suggested that perhaps her government declined the invitation because it thought a US summit for democracy lacked credibility.

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