G20: Angela Merkel calls for global action to beat coronavirus

President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan meets with Saudi King Salman in Riyadh Saudi Arabia Feb. 14 2017. — Reuters  Files

President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan meets with Saudi King Salman in Riyadh Saudi Arabia Feb. 14 2017. — Reuters Files

Pharmaceutical companies and research centres around the world are working on potential COVID-19 vaccines, with large global trials of several of the candidates involving tens of thousands of participants underway.

"From the very beginning, we have emphasized that we should take care of people's health and of the economy at the same time".

US President Donald Trump's robust "America first" trade policy has rankled world leaders.

"There is a lack of participation from private creditors, and we strongly encourage them to participate on comparable terms when requested by eligible countries", it said.

With Saudi hopes for a grand coming-out parade dashed due to the pandemic, the event has been reduced to brief online sessions of what observers call "digital diplomacy".

He said China has joined the COVAX facility and stand ready to step up cooperation with other countries on the R&D, production and distribution of vaccines.

G-20 heads of state last gathered virtually for an emergency meeting in March as the coronavirus was fast-spreading around the world.

The imminent change of guard in the White House also seemed to unblock bolder G20 language on climate change.

"We will spare no effort to ensure their affordable and equitable access for all people, consistent with members' commitments to incentivize innovation", the leaders said in the draft G20 statement, seen by Reuters.

"President Erdogan and King Salman agreed on keeping channels of dialogue open in order for the bilateral relations to be enhanced and for issues to be settled", the presidency said.

The Paris-based Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development projects global economic output will contract by 4.5 percent this year.

The ministers had extended a debt suspension initiative for developing countries until June next year.

Leaders of the world's 20 biggest economies on Sunday will pledge to pay for a fair distribution of COVID-19 vaccines, drugs and tests around the world so that poorer countries are not left out, and to extend debt relief to them, a draft G20 communique showed.

International Monetary Fund managing director Kristalina Georgieva has warned that the global economy faces a hard road back from the Covid-19 recession, even as vaccines are now in sight.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, a staunch Trump defender, will be in Saudi Arabia on the second day of the summit.

Saudi Arabia's human rights record has cast a shadow on the gathering, as campaigners and families of jailed activists launch vigorous drives to highlight the issue.

The International Labor Organization says an equivalent of 225 million full-time jobs were lost in G-20 countries alone in the third quarter of 2020. Human Rights Watch said the summit was "a mark of global prestige for the government of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman but it helps the Saudi government deflect from its image as a pervasive human rights violator".

"Instead of signalling its concern for Saudi Arabia's serious abuses, the G20 is bolstering the Saudi government's well-funded publicity efforts to portray the country as "reforming" despite a significant increase in repression".

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