Saudi King Salman on Thursday opened a virtual summit of the Group of 20 on the coronavirus pandemic with a call for a global response to the health crisis.
“This human crisis requires a global response. The world counts on us to come together and cooperate to face this challenge,” he said in opening remarks of the event being held via video conferencing.
Oil-wealthy Saudi Arabia holds the presidency of the G20 in 2020.
Leaders of the world’s major economies were set at the G20 summit to discuss a coordinated response to the global coronavirus pandemic.
The Saudi monarch urged the bloc to take firm measures at various levels.
“The G20 must assume the responsibility of reinforcing cooperation in financing research and development for therapeutics and a vaccine for Covid-19,” he said in his remarks released in English by the Saudi Foreign Ministry.
“On the economic front, amid the slowdown in global growth and the turmoil in financial markets, the G20 has a pivotal role in countering the economic and social impact of this pandemic,’’ he added.
The king also called for an effective and coordinated response to the pandemic to restore confidence in the global economy.
“On the trade front, the G20 must send a strong signal to restore confidence in the global economy by resuming, as soon as possible, the normal flow of goods and services, especially vital medical supplies.’’
Salman also suggested support for the countries hard hit by the pandemic.
“It is our responsibility to extend a helping hand to developing countries and least developed countries to enable them to build their capacities and improve their infrastructure to overcome this crisis and its repercussions,’’ he said.
Leaders of Spain, Jordan, Singapore, and Switzerland were also to join the meeting as well as the UN, World Bank and the World Health Organisation, according to Saudi media.
Regional organisations, such as the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), the African Union, the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) and the New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD), will each be represented by the country leading the group.
It was not immediately clear who is actually attending the extraordinary event.
The G20 covers two-thirds of the global population, representing 85 per cent of global economic output and 75 per cent of global trade.
The group comprises of 19 leading economic powers and the European Union.