Kagame calls for equitable distribution of Covid-19 vaccine

Darnell Taylor
November 23, 2020

The United States has declined to join under Trump, saying COVAX was "influenced by the corrupt World Health Organization and China".

World leaders, including US President Donald Trump who is refusing to concede a bitter election, popped up in multiple windows across a flickering screen, in a high-stakes webinar held amid the raging pandemic.

Saudi Arabia is hosting the virtual meeting of G-20 leaders on Saturday and Sunday in line with coronavirus restrictions.

At the G20 Summit in Riyadh, Saudi Arabi, President Xi Jinping of China said that his country was prepared to intensify cooperation on a global effort to develop vaccines for COVID-19.

Chinese President Xi Jinping attends the 15th G20 Leaders' Summit via video link in Beijing, capital of China on November 21, 2020.

"It is unfortunate that we are unable to host you in person in Riyadh, due to the exceptional circumstances that we are all facing this year", King Salman, the summit's hosts, told world leaders in opening remarks via videoconference.

But while the US was mainly cooperative, Turkey raised an objection to the climate language, tied to a longstanding complaint of how it can't access climate financing from the $10.3 billion Green Climate Fund. Turkey, because of a quirky diplomatic designation, falls in between the categories of developed and developing countries and as such neither gets, nor gives, funding to help cope with climate change.

G20 nations have contributed more than $21bn to combat the pandemic, which has infected 56 million people globally and left 1.3 million dead, and injected $11 trillion to "safeguard" the virus-battered world economy, organisers said.

"Now, more than ever, our global success depends on attaining a better path towards peace, prosperity and sustainability", the statement said.

Without an opportunity to take the traditional "family photo", at the gala they projected a group portrait of G20 leaders onto the ruins of the historical town of Diriyah, close to the capital.

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Along with Xi and Macron, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan also addressed the summit, where sources said climate change was among the issues topping the agenda.

According to the president, strengthening the global public health system as well as preventing and controlling the COVID-19 pandemic and other infectious diseases are "the most pressing task of the moment".

But G20 leaders face mounting pressure to help stave off possible credit defaults across developing nations.

G20 nations will work to "protect lives, provide support with a special focus on the most vulnerable, and put our economies back on a path to restoring growth, and protecting and creating jobs for all".

Last week, the bloc's finance ministers declared a "common framework" for an extended debt restructuring plan for virus-ravaged countries, but campaigners say the measure is insufficient.

The statement released at the end of the summit also did not include a commitment to canceling poor countries' debt repayments through 2021, as Guterres has urged the G20 to do.

"We have mobilized resources to address the immediate financing needs in global health to support the research, development, manufacturing, and distribution of safe and effective Covid-19 diagnostics, therapeutics, and vaccines", the G20 nations said Sunday.

Meanwhile, Al-Saudi said that he was confident Democrat Joe Biden's incoming United States administration would pursue policies that help regional stability and that any discussions with it would lead to strong cooperation.

The communique offered no details however on how the effort will be funded.

But 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 the Saudi government.

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