Saudi Arabia will continue to play key G20 role, says King Salman

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Saudi Arabia will continue to play a key role within the G20 to find solutions to the world’s most pressing challenges of the 21st century, King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud has said.

In his closing remarks to the virtual G20 summit before handing over the presidency to Italy, the ruler said the kingdom woud remain a key player due to its “unique stature regionally and internationally and its unique location which interconnects three continents and lies at the intersection of emerging and developed markets”.

“This was the first time that Saudi Arabia had the honour of holding the presidency of the G20, and it turned out to be a very challenging year. Nevertheless, with your support, we managed to rise to the challenge together,” he added.

He went on to say: “We were able to reaffirm the spirit of cooperation that has always been the cornerstone of the G20 successes. This spirit is necessary today more than ever to face the impacts of this pandemic and to build a prosperous future for the people of the world.

“We have achieved a lot this year. We have upheld our commitment to continue to work together to rise to the challenge of the Covid-19 pandemic in order to safeguard lives and livelihoods and protect the most vulnerable groups.

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The club of the world’s richest nations adopted a unified tone on the challenges ahead during the virtual summit hosted by Saudi Arabia

“We have adopted important policies that will achieve recovery all the way to an economy that is resilient, sustainable, inclusive, and balanced. These policies will also maintain the momentum to make the global trade system work for all, and create the conditions to achieve sustainable growth.

“Most importantly, we have succeeded in sending out a message of hope and reassurance to our citizens and all people around the world… This is what the world has been expecting from us. This achievement today is a culmination of our joint efforts throughout this challenge-fraught year.”

Earlier, G20 leaders said Sunday they will “spare no effort” to ensure the fair distribution of coronavirus vaccines worldwide, and support poor countries whose economies have been ravaged by the crisis.

As the pandemic rages, the club of the world’s richest nations adopted a unified tone on the challenges ahead during a virtual summit hosted by Saudi Arabia.

But after a weekend of “digital diplomacy”, their closing communique lacked details on many of the issues dominating the talks.

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“We have mobilised 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,” they said in the statement.

“We will spare no effort to ensure their affordable and equitable access for all people.”

Calls are mounting for the G20 to help plug a $4.5 billion funding gap in the so-called ACT-Accelerator, a mechanism led by the World Health Organisation that aims to ensure access to tests, treatments and vaccines for all.

However, the final communique did not spell out how the massive cost of the exercise would be underwritten.

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

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