G20: Angela Merkel calls for global action to defeat the coronavirus | TBEN | 21.11.2020

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German Chancellor Angela Merkel urged G20 leaders to stay united in the fight against the coronavirus on Saturday, saying at a virtual summit that more needs to be done to beat the pandemic.

Merkel was speaking at a meeting hosted by Saudi Arabia with heads of state and government from the world’s richest economies.

“If we are united around the world, we can control and overcome the virus and its consequences. Therefore, more efforts are worth it,” she said in a video message.

Merkel said this is a global challenge that can only be overcome by working with international organizations such as the World Health Organization, the United Nations and the G20, adding that leaders must find more money for the poorest countries to have access to vaccines.

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His comments were echoed by French President Emmanuel Macron, who also addressed the leaders.

“Today we are facing a health crisis that threatens the lives of millions of people,” Macron said. “But there can be no effective response to this pandemic if it is not global, coordinated and based on solidarity.”

The summit is being hosted virtually by Saudi hosts due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The procurement and global distribution of vaccines, drugs and tests for low-income countries that cannot afford such expenses on their own is high on the agenda.

The European Union wants the G20 to invest 4.5 billion dollars (3.7 billion euros) to help it, as well as the adoption of new global standards to fight against pandemics.

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‘Economic recovery’

Meanwhile, Saudi Finance Minister Mohammed al-Jadaan said the summit “will seek to strengthen international cooperation to support global economic recovery.”

“The G20 pledged in March to do everything in its power to overcome the pandemic and protect lives and livelihoods,” British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said in a statement. “We must hold ourselves accountable for this promise.”

However, G20 leaders face increasing pressure to help avoid possible credit defaults in developing countries.

As the global economy recovers from the depths of the crisis early this year, momentum slows in countries with rising infection rates, recovery is patchy and the pandemic is likely to leave deep scars , the International Monetary Fund said in a report for the G20 Summit.

Fight against climate change

Climate change was also to be high on the agenda, with the change of direction in the United States giving rise to hopes for a more concerted effort at the G20 level to combat global warming.

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Like the EU, already half of the G20 members, including Japan, China, South Korea and South Africa, plan to become carbon neutral by 2050 or soon after.

Under Trump, the United States withdrew from the Paris Agreement on climate change, but the decision will likely be overturned by President-elect Biden.

The European G20 nations want to speed up reform of the World Trade Organization (WTO), hoping to capitalize on the upcoming change of US administration. Trump preferred bilateral trade deals to work through international bodies.

jf / aw (TBEN, Reuters)

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