G20 summit opens with Saudi urging united response to virus

G20 summit opens with Saudi urging united response to virus”

The G20 logo is projected at the historical site of al-Tarif in Diriyah district, on the outskirts of Saudi capital Riyadh on November 20, 2020.

The Group of 20 summit began on Saturday with appeals by the world's most powerful leaders to collectively chart a way forward as the coronavirus pandemic overshadows this year's gathering, transforming it from in-person meetings to a virtual gathering of speeches and declarations.

The Saudi G20 presidency hosted an extraordinary leaders' meeting to reduce the COVID-19 impact in March, where they agreed to allocate 21 billion US dollars to support the global efforts to combat the pandemic and 11 trillion dollars to support individuals and businesses.

World leaders are huddling virtually as worldwide efforts intensify for a large-scale roll out of coronavirus vaccines after a breakthrough in trials, and as calls grow for G20 nations to plug funding shortfalls.

At the G20 summit held as a video conference, in which Chancellor Angela Merkel (CDU) is also participating, the first topic is the global corona pandemic.

Although the White House confirmed the President's participation on both days of the Summit, information about which events he would attend was not immediately clear, The Hill news website reported.

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Saudi State Minister for Foreign Affairs Adel al-Jubeir said on Friday that the G20 Summit is not limited to politics, but it will also tackle the economy and the empowerment of the youth and women.

The meeting will be held in a virtual format.

Many G20 leaders have already congratulated his rival, President-elect Joe Biden.

Last week, its finance ministers declared a "common framework" for an extended debt restructuringplan for virus-ravaged countries, but campaigners say the measure is insufficient. Although the Covid-19 pandemic has forced us to adjust our focus rapidly to face its repercussions, the subject areas under this general theme, namely: Empowering People, Safeguarding the Planet, and Shaping New Frontiers, remain essential to overcome this global challenge and shape a better future for our people. "The UK has committed to equitable global access for any vaccine, and I would like to see the G20 nations collectively step up and support that effort".

"We expect, of course, new momentum from the new USA administration on this issue, thanks to the president-elect's declaration that the USA would join the Paris Agreement once again", European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said.

Meanwhile, although not "officially" said to be on the agenda, campaigners and families of jailed activists have staged a "counter-summit" in hopes of throwing a spotlight on the ultra-conservative kingdom's human rights record.

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