G-20 summit opens with call for united response to pandemic

Marco Green
November 22, 2020

The leaders discussed improving relations between the two countries, the statement said. "We also support the G20 in carrying out institutionalised cooperation and building global cooperation networks to facilitate the flow of personnel and goods", Mr. Xi said.

This year's G-20 summit began Saturday with a call for world leaders to mount a united response to the coronavirus pandemic.

The pandemic has offered the G-20 an opportunity to prove how such bodies can facilitate global cooperation in crises - but has also underscored their shortcomings.

"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.

"Had a very fruitful discussion with G20 leaders".

"The only effective response to the pandemic will be a coordinated, global one, based on solidarity", said French President Emmanuel Macron.

The European Union wants the G20 to invest $4.5bn (€3.7 billion) to help, as well as agreeing new global standards for tackling pandemics.

"There is a lack of participation from private creditors, and we strongly encourage them to participate on comparable terms when requested by eligible countries", it said. "China actively supports and participates in worldwide cooperation on COVID-19 vaccines", he said.

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

He said China has joined the COVAX facility and stand ready to step up cooperation with other countries on the R&D, production and distribution of vaccines.

There had been questions as to whether Mr Trump would log into the virtual summit at all, considering he is pre-occupied with disputing Joe Biden's election victory, despite no evidence of voter fraud being uncovered.

"We should speed up action and support the World Health Organisation in mobilising and consolidating resources and distributing vaccines fairly and efficiently". One European source said Mr Trump's remarks were focused on what he described as an unprecedented United States recovery and the U.S. drive to develop its own vaccines. It will propose a treaty on pandemics.

"An global treaty would help us respond more quickly and in a more coordinated manner", European Council president Charles Michel is expected to tell the G-20 today.

Speaking ahead of the virtual summit, being hosted by Saudi Arabia, the Prime Minister said all nations "must hold ourselves to account" to the promise made in March, which was to do "whatever it takes to overcome the pandemic and protect lives and livelihoods".

G20 nations have extended a debt service suspension initiative (DSSI) for developing countries until June next year, but UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has pushed for a commitment to extend it until the end of 2021.

To address this, the G20 will endorse a plan to extend a debt servicing moratorium for developing countries by six months to mid-2021, with a possibility of a further extension, said a draft G20 communique seen by Reuters.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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