Coronavirus Crisis to Dominate Saudi-hosted G20 Summit

British PM Johnson urges G20 to do more to combat COVID

To be chaired by His Majesty King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud of Saudi Arabia, the G20 Leaders' Summit will also focus on fostering worldwide action to realize opportunities of the 21st century for all, by empowering people and protecting the planet, whilst harnessing the potential of innovation to shape new frontiers.

Amid a raging pandemic, the summit, which is usually an opportunity for one-on-one engagements between world leaders, is reduced to brief online sessions of what some observers call "digital diplomacy".

Along with Xi, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Russian President Vladimir Putin are among leaders expected to speak at the summit, with climate change among the issues topping the agenda, sources close to the organisers said.

The G20 has taken a series of significant steps aimed at confronting the pandemic, he remarked, noting its pledge of billions of dollars to develop a vaccine.

The nations both face the prospect of a tougher time with the next US administration of Joe Biden, after enjoying strong backing from Donald Trump during his presidency.

The prime minister will stress UK´s commitment to equitable global access for a COVID-19 vaccine and ask the representatives of the world´s leading economies to join and support the COVAX initiative, to ensure developing countries are not left behind in the race for a vaccine.

The Group of 20 summit began on Saturday with appeals by the world's most powerful leaders to collectively chart a way forward as the coronavirus pandemic overshadows this year's gathering, transforming it from in-person meetings to a virtual gathering of speeches and declarations.

But G20 leaders face mounting pressure to help stave off possible credit defaults across developing nations. Erdogan was scheduled to speak at the summit on Saturday.

The two-day G20 Leaders' Summit brings together heads of state or government from 19 countries and the European Union, as well as leaders of guest countries and representatives of invited regional and worldwide organizations, to discuss global economic cooperation.

Last week, its finance ministers declared a "common framework" for an extended debt restructuringplan for virus-ravaged countries, but campaigners say the measure is insufficient.

In a statement Friday, European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said she planned to push members to continue to provide pandemic-related economic support until recovery from covid-19 is certain.

Some Western officials have indicated human rights will not be raised at the summit, saying they prefer to use bilateral forums to discuss the issue with Riyadh.

"We expect, of course, new momentum from the new USA administration on this issue, thanks to the president-elect's declaration that the USA would join the Paris Agreement once again", European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said.

The Summit marks the end of the Saudi G20 Presidency that started in December 2019.

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