Published: Sun, November 22, 2020
Economy | By

Trump Leaves G-20 Virtual Summit Before COVID Conference

Trump Leaves G-20 Virtual Summit Before COVID Conference

In a bid to liven up the event, which takes place in a gloomy global atmosphere, Saudi Arabia's King Salman hosted an evening musical gala on the eve of the event and projected a group photo of the world leaders onto the ruins of the historical town of Diriyah, close to the capital Riyadh.

Leaders of the 20 biggest economies (G20) are debating this weekend how to distribute COVID-19 vaccines, drugs and tests around the world so that poorer countries are not left out as nations look for ways to manage a post-coronavirus recovery.

Trump's morning commentary and absence from the coronavirus side meeting comes as he has faced criticism both within the US and around the world for his response to the pandemic.

The World Health Organization said Friday that more cases have been reported in the past four weeks than the first six months of the pandemic.

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

The pandemic, which has claimed more than 1.37 million lives worldwide, has offered the G-20 an opportunity to prove how such bodies can facilitate global cooperation in crises - but has also underscored their shortcomings.

According to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University, the USA now leads the world in the number of total confirmed coronavirus infections, followed by India at roughly 9 million, Brazil with 6 million and France with 2.1 million cases. "An worldwide treaty would help us respond more quickly and in a more coordinated manner", the chairman of European Union leaders Charles Michel will tell the G20.

Outgoing U.S. President Donald Trump favoured bilateral trade deals over working through global bodies. Governments have reimposed lockdowns and curfews.

In a video statement released ahead of the summit, Johnson appealed to global leaders to harness the resources of the world's wealthiest nations to end the COVID-19 pandemic and tackle climate change. German Chancellor Angela Merkel called for strengthening the World Health Organization and stressed the pandemic can only be overcome if an affordable vaccine is available to all nations.

"We must also continue to support the global economy and reopen our economies and borders to facilitate the mobility of trade and people", King Salman said.

The Hill reports that Trump's public schedule shows he's to attend another G-20 session Sunday morning.

The gathering also comes at a time of deep political tension within the United States, with a doubt over whether or not Trump will address the attendees.

"We have a duty to rise to the challenge together during this summit and give a strong message of hope and reassurance to our peoples through adopting policies to mitigate this crisis", King Salman said in his remarks.

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