G-20 summit opens as leaders urge united response to virus

Cheryl Sanders
November 22, 2020

The COVID-19 pandemic is the biggest challenge the world is facing since World War-II and is an important turning point in the history of humanity, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said at the G20 summit on Saturday, as he offered India's IT prowess for efficient functioning of the grouping.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan spoke with Saudi Arabia's King Salman by phone ahead of the G-20 virtual summit hosted by the kingdom, the president's office said Saturday.

While G-20 countries have contributed billions of dollars toward developing a vaccine for the virus, they have also mostly focused on securing their own vaccine supplies.

In a statement Friday, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said she planned to push members to continue to provide pandemic-related economic support until recovery from covid-19 is certain.

Saudi G20 Presidency | PRNews
Saudi G20 Presidency | PRNews

A day before the summit, UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said that while US$10 billion has been invested in efforts to develop vaccines, diagnostics and therapeutics, another US$28 billion is needed for mass manufacturing, procurement and delivery of new COVID-19 vaccines around the world.

Based on this, the G20 can lay the foundation of a new world, he said. "It's the duty of the worldwide community to call on the release of Loujain".

In September, a Saudi court overturned five death sentences handed down after a closed-door trial in Saudi Arabia that ended last year, sentencing them to 20 years in prison instead.

The gathering also comes at a time of deep political tension within the United States, with a doubt over whether or not Trump will address the attendees.

"Our fates are in each other's hands", said Johnson, who plans to attend two virtual events at the summit while self-isolating at home in London after coming into contact with someone who tested positive for COVID-19. Coordinated efforts by the largest economies of the world will surely lead to faster recovery from this pandemic.

The Internet giants have benefited greatly from the shift to tele-working forced upon the world economy by the pandemic, and European countries have always been pushing to tax them where they make their profits, rather than where they establish their subsidiaries for tax optimization purposes.

G-20 nations have agreed to suspend debt payments for the world's poorest countries until mid-2021 to allow those nations to focus their spending on health care and stimulus programs.

"We must work to create the conditions for affordable and equitable access to these tools for all peoples", Saudi Arabia's King Salman bin Abdulaziz said in his opening remarks.

The leaders also recognized the specific challenges faced by countries in Africa and small island developing states, reflecting growing recognition that even some middle-income countries may need debt relief as a result of the pandemic.

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