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Jakarta Post

Saudi Arabia to use G20 leadership to coordinate COVID-19 response

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    The Jakarta Post

Jakarta   /   Fri, October 30, 2020   /   07:01 am
Saudi Arabia to use G20 leadership to coordinate COVID-19 response Muslim pilgrims observe social distancing as they circle the Kaaba at the Grand Mosque in Mecca, Saudi Arabia, in July 2020 for the annual Haj pilgrimage. (REUTERS/Saudi Ministry of Media/Handout)

Saudi Arabia will use its current leadership of the Group of 20 countries to coordinate global efforts in the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic, which so far has killed 1.1 million people and infected more than 44 million.

Saudi Arabian Ambassador to Indonesia Esam Abid Al-Thaqafi said that, while the next G20 summit, which will be held virtually in November, would keep the focus on economic stability, sustainable development and improving trade and investment, the Middle Eastern kingdom would also take the task of leading efforts to deal with the global pandemic.

“Together with G20 countries and others invited to the summit, Spain, Jordan, Singapore and Switzerland, as well as international and regional organizations, we will discuss efforts to step up and coordinate global efforts to deal with the pandemic and minimize its humanitarian and economic impacts,” Al-Thaqafi said in a press briefing on Tuesday.

Al-Thaqafi said that a unified response taken by some of the biggest economies could bring optimism to a pandemic-weary world.

Saudi Arabia will hold the G20 leaders summit virtually on Nov. 21 and 22, with the COVID-19 pandemic continuing the wreak havoc worldwide. Riyadh had initially hoped that hosting the gathering in the kingdom, where leaders of the world’s leading economies would show up, could boost its international standing.

The summit, according to Riyadh, will focus on "protecting lives and restoring growth, by addressing vulnerabilities uncovered during the pandemic and by laying the foundations for a better future."

The world’s leading countries have spent $11 trillion to protect the global economy from the ravages of the COVID-19 pandemic, King Salman of Saudi Arabia has revealed.

Under the presidency of Saudi Arabia, the G20 group of nations have also pledged $21 billion for diagnostic and treatment tools, medicines and vaccines to combat the coronavirus, the king said in a speech delivered on his behalf at the Riyadh-hosted B20, the G20’s business-focused working group.

Earlier, King Salman of Saudi Arabia said the “resilience and strength of the Saudi economy” was a match for the coronavirus, and he restated the Kingdom’s commitment to “increasing growth and prosperity levels through empowerment and investment in new sectors; especially the sectors that will lead the global recovery and protect countries from future pandemics.”

In the press briefing, Al-Thaqafi also said that Saudi Arabia was undergoing both an economic and social transformation, a process that had taken place in the past couple of years and had made the Kingdom shine on the global stage.

“The transformation has made us a worthy member and leader of the G20 in the year 2020,” he said. (mtr)

Editor’s note: This article is part of a public campaign by the COVID-19 task force to raise people’s awareness about the pandemic.