Turkish, Saudi leaders speak by phone ahead of G20 summit

Turkish, Saudi leaders speak by phone ahead of G20 summit

"Family Photo" for annual G20 Summit World Leaders is projected onto Salwa Palace in At-Turaif, one of Saudi Arabia's UNESCO World Heritage sites, in Diriyah, Saudi Arabia, November 20, 2020.

Merkel was speaking during a meeting hosted by Saudi Arabia with heads of state and government from the world's wealthiest economies. The kingdom has presided over the G-20 this year.

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.

US President Donald Trump went golfing after making a brief online appearance at the G20 summit Saturday, an event hosted by Saudi Arabia but staged virtually because of Covid-19.

"There is a lack of participation from private creditors, and we strongly encourage them to participate on comparable terms when requested by eligible countries", it said. "It's the duty of the global community to call on the release of Loujain". The United States has declined to join under Trump, saying COVAX was "influenced by the corrupt World Health Organization and China".

The pandemic has had a far-reaching economic impact on developing countries and pushed millions into extreme poverty. It comprises 19 countries - Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, South Korea, Turkey, Britain and the United States - plus the European Union.

The virus shows no signs of abating as major cities in the USA and Europe bring back lockdowns and curfews.

G20 nations have so far contributed more than 21 billion dollars to combat the pandemic, which has infected 56 million people globally and left 1.3 million dead, and injected $11 trillion to "safeguard" the world economy, organisers said. G-20 member-countries represent around 85% of the world's economic output and three-quarters of global trade.

The Turkish leader is due to address the summit via video link at 1300 GMT.

Climate change was also expected to top the agenda, with the change of United States leadership raising hopes of a more concerted effort at G20 level to fight global warming. Coordinated efforts by the largest economies of the world will surely lead to faster recovery from this pandemic.

After his moment in the virtual limelight, Trump was substituted by Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin as the other world leaders had their say.

The Internet giants have benefited greatly from the shift to tele-working forced upon the world economy by the pandemic, and European countries have always been pushing to tax them where they make their profits, rather than where they establish their subsidiaries for tax optimization purposes.

G-20 nations have since agreed to suspend debt payments for the world's poorest countries until mid-2021 to allow those nations to focus their spending on health care and stimulus programs. Guterres, however, called on the G-20 to extend debt repayments through the end of 2021 and expand the scope to middle-income countries in need.

"We have a duty to rise to the challenge together during this summit and give a strong message of hope and reassurance", King Salman said in his opening remarks.



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