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.
Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan and Saudi Arabia's King Salman bin Abdulaziz agreed in a phone call improve bilateral ties and solve outstanding disputes through dialogue, the Turkish presidency said early on Saturday (Nov 21).
The Saudi G20 presidency hosted an extraordinary leaders' meeting to reduce the COVID-19 impact in March, where they agreed to allocate 21 billion USA dollars to support the global efforts to combat the pandemic and 11 trillion dollars to support individuals and businesses.
Discussions are expected to be dominated by the pandemic's implications and steps for reviving the global economy.
G-20 heads of state last gathered virtually for an emergency meeting in March as the coronavirus was fast-spreading around the world. G-20 leaders vowed to share information and the material needed for research, to exchange epidemiological and clinical data, and to strengthen health systems.
He also underlined the importance of collective work to combat the novel coronavirus pandemic, underscoring global efforts to develop a vaccine for the virus that has upended lives the world over. G20 leaders discuss a wide range of issues, including resource mobilisation and collaborative research; production and distribution of COVID-19 vaccines; capacity building to respond to future pandemic threats; ensuring an open, transparent and inclusive trade and investment environment; maintaining global supply chains and promoting reform of the World Trade Organisation (WTO); affirming the role of connection and digital technology in digital economic development; promoting the completion of the SDGs on time; efficient use of energy; sustainable management of water resources; and ensuring food security.
"Although we are optimistic about the progress made in developing vaccines, therapeutics and diagnostics tools for Covid-19, we must work to create the conditions for affordable and equitable access to these tools for all people", he was quoted by news agency AFP as saying.
"We must provide support to the developing countries in a coordinated manner to maintain the development already achieved over the past decades. With our coming together once more, I am confident that the Riyadh Summit will deliver significant and decisive results and will lead to adopting economic and social policies that will restore hope and reassurance to the people of the world", he said.
But UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres urged G20 leaders to offer a "firm committment" to extend the initiative until the end of 2021.
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