Turkish, Saudi leaders speak by phone ahead of G20 summit

Andrew Cummings
November 23, 2020

"A commitment by G20 leaders to invest substantially in the ACT-Accelerator's immediate funding gap of $4.5 billion will immediately save lives, lay the groundwork for mass provision of Covid-19 tools around the world, and provide a way out of this global economic and human crisis".

At the conclusion of the summit, Saudi Arabia handed off the G20 presidency to Italy, which next year plans to organize a global health summit.

The two-day summit will end on Sunday, with leaders adopting a joint declaration.

"Our peoples and economies are still suffering from this shock". Saudi Arabia's Crown Prince, Mohammed bin Salman, has been identified by the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency as responsible for the murder.

"We are aware of the scope of our responsibility but also of the difficulty of our task", he said, adding: "The health and socio-economic answer to the pandemic, which has caused and continues to cause huge suffering tomankind and has already struck significant blows to the global economy, will obviously continue to be at the top of our agenda, to keep high the commitment of the worldwide community in the reaction to COVID-19".

Chinese President Xi Jinping spoke of the need to build a "global firewall against Covid-19" as he called on G20 nations to help distribute vaccines "fairly and efficiently", according to state news agency Xinhua.

World leaders, including US President Donald Trump who is refusing to concede a bitter election, popped up in multiple windows across a flickering screen, in a high-stakes webinar held amid the raging pandemic.

"Now, more than ever, our global success depends on attaining a better path towards peace, prosperity and sustainability", the statement said.

Trump is also taking part but it is unclear whether the United States president, who continues to reject his election defeat, will make an address.

The virus originally appeared in China in 2019. China has five home-grown candidates for a vaccine undergoing the last phase of trials.

"We have mobilised resources to address the immediate financing needs in global health to support the research, development, manufacturing and distribution of safe and effective Covid-19 diagnostics, therapeutics and vaccines", the draft document said.

"We will. offer help and support to other developing countries, and work hard to make vaccines a public good that citizens of all countries can use and can afford", he said.

Trudeau attended a separate side virtual meeting on Sunday on the global fight against climate change.

"President Erdogan and King Salman agreed to keep channels of dialogue open to improve bilateral ties and overcome issues", the Turkish presidency said.

The Paris-based Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development projects global economic output will contract by 4.5 percent this year.

But the group's leaders face mounting pressure to help stave off possible credit defaults across developing nations.

The ministers had extended a debt suspension initiative for developing countries until June next year.

Instead, G20 finance ministers will examine the recommendation when the International Monetary Fund and World Bank meet next spring "if the economic and financial situation requires" an extension by another six months, they said.

Meanwhile, Al-Saudi said that he was confident Democrat Joe Biden's incoming USA administration would pursue policies that help regional stability and that any discussions with it would lead to strong cooperation.

Key among them are the siblings of jailed activist Loujain al Hathloul, on hunger strike for more than 20 days demanding regular family contact.

"Instead of signalling its concern for Saudi Arabia's serious abuses, the G20 is bolstering the Saudi government's well-funded publicity efforts to portray the country as "reforming" despite a significant increase in repression", said Michael Page from Human Rights Watch.

Other reports by iNewsToday