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Saudi king to preside over virtual G20 coronavirus summit 

Saudi Arabia's King Salman bin Abdulaziz al-Saud speaks during the 14th Islamic Summit of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) in Mecca, Saudi Arabia on June 1, 2019 [BANDAR ALGALOUD / SAUDI KINGDOM COUNCIL / HANDOUT - Anadolu Agency]
Saudi Arabia's King Salmanin Abdulaziz Al-Saud in Saudi Arabia on 1 June 2019 [Bandar Algaloud/Anadolu Agency]

Saudi Arabia's King Salman will chair an extraordinary virtual summit of G20 leaders tomorrow in an effort to coordinate the global response to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

"The Saudi G20 Presidency has set the date of the extraordinary virtual Leaders' Summit for Thursday, March 26. King Salman Bin Abdulaziz Al Saud will chair the meeting to advance a coordinated global response to the COVID-19 pandemic and its human and economic implications," an official statement said today.

The kingdom, which holds the G20 presidency this year, last week invited the leaders to engage in a video conference amid criticism that the group had failed to respond to the global crisis.

READ: UN chief calls for immediate worldwide ceasefire to fight coronavirus

Top international organisations will also take part in the summit, including the UN, the World Bank, WHO, the World Trade Organisation, the IMF and the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).

Heads of state from a number of other countries including the UAE, Jordan, Spain, Singapore and Switzerland are also expected.

A number of civil society groups, however, have decided to boycott the event because of Riyadh's poor human rights record.

CoronavirusMiddle EastNewsSaudi Arabia
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