Published: Sun, November 22, 2020

Vaccines, golf, Khashoggi: key talking points at cyber G20

Vaccines, golf, Khashoggi: key talking points at cyber G20

"Our greatest defence against Covid-19 is solidarity and cooperation", the United Nations chief was speaking at a virtual summit of G20 leaders under the theme "Building an inclusive, sustainable and resilient future", where he highlighted the importance of G20 leadership in the fight against the pandemic and the effort to build back better, Xinhua news agency reported.

Out of step on that point was US President Donald Trump, who used a virtual address on Sunday to defend his decision to rip the US out of the Paris climate accord.

"We are aware of the scope of our responsibility but also of the difficulty of our task", he said, adding: "The health and socio-economic answer to the pandemic, which has caused and continues to cause huge suffering tomankind and has already struck significant blows to the global economy, will obviously continue to be at the top of our agenda, to keep high the commitment of the worldwide community in the reaction to COVID-19".

She called for a prompt and effective implementation of the G20 framework for debt treatments beyond the debt relief initiative, adding: "We must also help those countries not covered by the Framework to address debt vulnerabilities so that their economies can become more resilient".

He added there was "very clear recognition from the G20 leaders that if we leave any country behind, we will be behind".

However, the final document lacked detail on how that would be funded.

The UN chief believed that the third important role of the G20 leadership is aligning their recovery efforts with the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Paris Agreement on Climate Change.

G20 nations have contributed more than $21 billion to combat the pandemic, which has infected 56 million people globally and left 1.3 million dead, and injected $11 trillion to shore up the battered world economy, summit organisers said.

But the group's leaders face mounting pressure to help stave off possible credit defaults across developing nations.

The draft communique, however, did not offer a firm commitment.

"We strive to realise the goal of a free, fair, inclusive, non-discriminatory, transparent, predictable, and stable trade and investment environment, and to keep our markets open", the communique said. Measures for fighting the coronavirus pandemic and keeping the global economy on track are expected to be among the key topics discussed by leaders from the advanced and emerging economies during the videoconference.

Von der Leyen also added that she expected consensus and a "new momentum from the new U.S. administration" on climate change and a reversal of Trump's withdrawal from the Paris climate accord.

Landmark promises on vaccine access, a USA president gone golfing, and awkward questions for the Saudi hosts about the murder of campaigning journalist Jamal Khashoggi have dominated this year's virtual G20.

It is one of the last scheduled global summits President Trump will attend as part of his presidency.

"But $28 billion more is needed - including $4.2 billion before the end of the year", United Nations chief Antonio Guterres said on the eve of the summit.

"The Paris accord was not created to save the environment".

Most importantly, we have succeeded in sending out a message of hope and reassurance to our citizens and all people around the world through the Final Communique of this Leaders' Summit.

But human rights activists hope that, without reform, the kingdom is never granted hosting rights again.

At the first G20 summit since his inauguration in mid-September, Suga reiterated his determination to host the postponed Tokyo Olympics and Paralympics as planned next summer "as a proof that humanity has defeated the virus", according to the official.

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