Saudi Arabia’s King Salman urges coordinated G20 response to coronavirus crisis

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Jeddah - Yasmine El Tohamy - Saudi Arabia’s King Salman urges coordinated G20 response to coronavirus crisis

LONDON: Saudi Arabia’s King Salman urged G20 leaders on Thursday to take firm measures and “effective and coordinated” action to combat the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

Saudi Arabia, which holds the G20 presidency this year, called an extraordinary meeting to discuss global efforts to deal with the coronavirus crisis, which has infected nearly 500,000 people and claimed more than 21,000 lives.

Chairing the virtual meeting with the leaders of the group via video, the king said the nations in the bloc also needed to assist developing nations and fund research into finding a vaccine against the virus.

“It is our responsibility to extend a helping hand to developing countries and least developed countries to enable them to build their capacities and improve their infrastructure to overcome this crisis and its repercussions,”the king said.

“This crisis requires a global response, and the world is counting on us to cooperate and work together to face it.

"We must also strengthen the global preparedness to counter infectious diseases that may spread in the future."

SPEECH IN FULL BELOW

Your Majesties, Your Excellencies, Your Highnesses,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
In the beginning I’d like to welcome all of you to this extraordinary summit, thanking you all for your participation.

We are holding this meeting to carry out our responsibilities as the leaders of the world’s largest economies, in order to combat the COVID-19 pandemic, which requires that we take firm measures on various fronts. This pandemic has greatly taken toll on human lives and caused tremendous suffering to many people around the world. And here, I would like to extend our deepest condolences to all countries around the world and to their respective citizens over the lives lost to this pandemic, wishing speedy recovery for all those who are infected.
The impact of this pandemic has spread to reach the global economy, financial markets, trade, and global supply chains, hampering growth and development and reversing the gains accomplished in the previous years.

This human crisis requires a global response. The world counts on us to come together and cooperate in order to face this challenge.
On the health front, the Saudi G20 Presidency took the lead and worked with partners and relevant organizations to take all necessary actions in order to contain the spread of COVID-19 and safeguard people’s health. And, here, we value the effective measures adopted by different countries in this regard. We reaffirm our full support for the World Health Organization in coordinating the efforts to counter this pandemic. To complement these efforts, the G20 must assume the responsibility of reinforcing cooperation in financing research and development for therapeutics and a vaccine for COVID-19 and ensure the availability of the vital medical supplies and equipment. We must also strengthen the global preparedness to counter infectious diseases that may spread in the future.

On the economic front, amid the slowdown in global growth and the turmoil in financial markets, the G20 has a pivotal role in countering the economic and social impact of this pandemic. Therefore, we must have an effective and coordinated response to this pandemic and restore confidence in the global economy. The Presidency welcomes the policies and measures taken by countries to revive their respective economies, including stimulus packages, precautionary measures, sector targeted policies, and job protection measures. But despite the importance of any country’s individual responses, it is our duty to strengthen cooperation and coordination in all aspects of the adopted economic policies.

On the trade front, the G20 must send a strong signal to restore confidence in the global economy by resuming, as soon as possible, the normal flow of goods and services, especially vital medical supplies.
In addition, it is our responsibility to extend a helping hand to developing countries and least developed countries to enable them to build their capacities and improve their infrastructure to overcome this crisis and its repercussions.
The G20 has previously proven its effectiveness in mitigating the severity of the global financial crisis and its ability to overcome it. Today, through our cooperation, we are confident that we, together, will overcome this crisis, and move forward towards a future where all people thrive, prosper and are healthy.

Thank you very much.

May peace, mercy, and blessings of god be upon you.

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