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Saudi Arabia to hold G20 summit virtually

Germany is hosting leaders from the world’s 20 largest economies at the summit to set focus on the global economy, trade, climate change, and the fight against international terrorism[Kayhan Özer/Anadolu Agency]
G20 Leaders Summit in Hamburg, Germany, July 2017 [Kayhan Özer/Anadolu Agency]

Saudi Arabia, the head of the G20, announced yesterday that the summit will be held virtually on 21–22 November, news agencies reported.

Saudi's King Salman Bin Abdulaziz will chair the meeting, the G20 presidency said in a statement reported by Saudi PressAgency (SPA).

"The G20 presidency will build on the success of the extraordinary virtual G20 Leaders' summit held in March, and on the outcomes of over 100 virtual working groups and ministerial meetings," the statement said.

It added: "The G20 is leading the fight against this global pandemic [covid-19], taking swift and unprecedented actions to protect lives, livelihoods and the most vulnerable."

According to SPA, the G20 has contributed over $21 billion to support the production, distribution and access to diagnostics, therapeutics and vaccines.

In addition, the group has injected $11 trillion to safeguard the global economy, as well as launching a debt suspension initiative for the least developed countries that would allow beneficiary countries to defer $14 billion in debt payments due this year and use the funds to finance their health systems and social programmes.

READ: NYC mayor pulls out of Saudi summit, citing human rights

The statement also said: "The upcoming G20 Leaders' Summit will focus on protecting lives and restoring growth by addressing vulnerabilities uncovered during the pandemic and by laying down the foundations for a better future."

"The Summit will also focus on fostering international action to realise opportunities of the 21st century for all by empowering people and protecting our planet, whilst harnessing the potential of innovation to shape new frontiers."

Covid-19 thwarted Riyadh's hopes of hosting the gathering in the kingdom to boost its international standing, Reuters said.

Saudi Arabia, the world's top oil exporter and a leading US ally, took over the G20 presidency at a time of heavy global criticism of its human rights record after the 2018 murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi and of the Yemen war.

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