Saudi Arabia stressed on Saturday the need for joint cooperation to confront the novel coronavirus and prepare for the post-pandemic world.
Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman bin Abdulaziz underscored the need to exert international efforts to overcome the crisis, urging G20 leaders to work towards affordable and equitable access to vaccines and other tools to combat the pandemic.
King Salman inaugurated the virtual G20 Leaders Summit on Saturday. It is the first time the world’s premier economic event is being held in the Arab world.
In his opening remarks, he described 2020 as an “extraordinary year,” urging the leaders of the G20 major economies to address the vulnerabilities exposed by the COVID-19 pandemic and rise to the challenge together.
“This has been an extraordinary year. The COVID-19 pandemic has been an unprecedented shock that affected the entire world within a short period of time, causing global economic and social losses,” he said.
“We will do our best to overcome this crisis through international cooperation,” he vowed.
“We all pledged at the onset of the crisis, over 21 billion dollars to support the global efforts to combat this pandemic. We also took extraordinary measures to support our economies by injecting over 11 trillion dollars to support individuals and businesses,” he told the world leaders.
“We also extended our social safety nets to protect those prone to losing their jobs or source of income. To this end, we have provided emergency support to the developing countries, including the G20 Debt Service Suspension Initiative to low-income countries,” the King added.
He called for addressing the vulnerabilities exposed by the coronavirus crisis “while working to protect lives and livelihoods.”
Other world leaders speaking at the opening of the summit underscored the need for solidarity and unity during these challenging times.
Russian President Vladimir Putin called for searching for a joint approach to build global economic and business ties. British Prime Minister Boris Johnson underscored London’s commitment to fairly distribute any vaccine it produces to the world. Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte, whose country will assume the 2021 G20 Presidency, urged unity and solidarity amid the global challenges. Brazil’s President Jair Bolsonaro said cooperation is the only way to overcome the pandemic and its repercussions.
Dubai Ruler Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum stressed the need for collective international efforts and cooperation to overcome the crisis in the fastest way possible and with the least losses. Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan noted that the pandemic has added more responsibilities on the G20 and increased its importance.