G-20 summit opens as Saudi King urges united response to virus

Cheryl Sanders
November 21, 2020

World leaders are to gather - virtually - for a G20 summit organised by Saudi Arabia, with the handling of the coronavirus pandemic and the world economic crisis high on the agenda. The pandemic has offered the G-20 an opportunity to prove how such bodies can facilitate worldwide cooperation in crises - but has also underscored their shortcomings.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday attended the 15th edition of the G20 Summit, chaired by Saudi Arabia this year.

The Summit also comes as the overall number of global coronavirus cases has surpassed the 57 million mark, while the deaths have surged to more than 1.36 million, according to the Johns Hopkins University.

"We must also continue to support the global economy and reopen our economies and borders to facilitate the mobility of trade and people", King Salman said.

"It is unfortunate that we are unable to host you in person in Riyadh, due to the exceptional circumstances that we are all facing this year", King Salman, the summit's hosts, told world leaders in opening remarks via videoconference.

The virus shows no signs of abating as major cities in the US and Europe bring back lockdowns and curfews.

ReutersThe G-20's member-countries represent around 85 per cent of the world's economic output and three-quarters of global trade.

The focus of the upcoming G20 Summit will be on an inclusive, resilient, and sustainable recovery from the COVID-19.

"Our fates are in each other's hands", he said.

The G20 Summit this year is being hosted by Saudi Arabia on November 21-22, on the theme "Realizing Opportunities of 21st Century for All", where leaders of the 20 biggest world economies (G20) are discussing how to deal with COVID-19's economic fallout and chart a recovery course.

President Donald Trump is among those expected to participate in the closed-door virtual sessions that are taking place Saturday and Sunday.

The meeting will be held in a virtual format. G-20 leaders vowed to share information and the material needed for research, to exchange epidemiological and clinical data, and to strengthen health systems. They also promised to work together to increase funding for vaccine research.

To be chaired by His Majesty King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud of Saudi Arabia, the G20 Leaders' Summit will also focus on fostering global action to realize opportunities of the 21st century for all, by empowering people and protecting the planet, whilst harnessing the potential of innovation to shape new frontiers.

Mr Johnson, who thanked King Salman "for the Kingdom's leadership of the G20 in turbulent times", said: "We have seen encouraging developments on vaccines in the last few weeks, which may offer a path out of the gloom".

Other reports by iNewsToday