G20 leaders emphasize need for global cooperation in fight against COVID-19

G20 leaders emphasize need for global cooperation in fight against COVID-19
On the margins of the G20 summit, the Saudi G20 Presidency hosted on Saturday a high-level side event on Pandemic Preparedness and Response, during which King Salman spoke. (Screenshot: G20)
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Updated 22 November 2020

G20 leaders emphasize need for global cooperation in fight against COVID-19

G20 leaders emphasize need for global cooperation in fight against COVID-19
  • Throughout the year, the G20 Saudi Presidency has led international efforts by organizing an Extraordinary Summit at the beginning of the pandemic

RIYADH: On the margins of the G20 summit, the Saudi G20 Presidency hosted on Saturday a high-level side event on Pandemic Preparedness and Response, during which King Salman spoke.

 

 

The G20 leaders along with global organizations emphasised the need for a continued coordinated response to the coronavirus pandemic, especially to support the most vulnerable, whilst increasing preparedness and spending for further research and innovation to create tools and vaccines.

Throughout the year, the G20 Saudi Presidency has led international efforts by organizing an Extraordinary Summit at the beginning of the pandemic, and discussed ways of protecting lives, jobs, and the most vulnerable.

G20 members have contributed to the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic with over $21 billion at the outset of the crisis to support health systems and the hunt for a vaccine. G20 also made available over $14 billion in debt relief for developing nations and injected an unprecedented $11 trillion so far to safeguard the global economy. 

As well as the king, 5he event also featured the Prime Minister of Italy Giuseppe Conte, President of Argentina Alberto Fernández, French president Emmanuel Macron, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, President of South Korea Moon Jae-in and the president of South Africa Cyril Ramaphosa.

Addressing the meeting, King Salman made the following statement:

“Your Majesties, Your Excellencies, Your Highnesses,

It is my pleasure to welcome you to the Pandemic Preparedness event. The world is facing an unprecedented global health challenge on people,  communities, and economies.

From the onset of the pandemic and in an attempt to jumpstart the global response, we met in an extraordinary summit last March where we all took swift and collective actions to counter this crisis. We continue to do so.

The pandemic  has demonstrated that international cooperation is the optimal way to overcome  crises. We must focus on the most vulnerable segments. We must provide support for all countries of the world, for  we would not be safe until everyone is safe.

In April, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia joined forces with international organizations and global leaders to launch the Access to Covid Tools-Accelerator. We co-led the Global Coronavirus Pledging Event to meet the global shortage in developing and distributing vaccines and diagnostic tools, where the Kingdom contributed $500MN towards that end.

With the advances we are witnessing in the Covid-19 vaccine development, our top priority is to ensure affordable and equitable access to the vaccine and diagnostic tools for all.

This pandemic is a true test for our global health systems. Therefore, through the G20 Presidency, we utilized a number of vital initiatives to close the pandemic preparedness and response gaps.

During our Presidency, with the support of the G20 members , we proposed   the Access to Pandemic Tools (APT) initiative, which aims at ensuring  focus on sustainable preparedness and response to counter any future pandemic. We look forward to furthering this discussion and implementation during the Italian Presidency next year.

Together we can reach our goal of protecting lives, livelihoods and shaping a better world to realize the opportunities for the 21st century for all. In this regard we would like to hear form their Majesties, Highnesses, Excellencies to share their relevant initiatives and best practices.

Thank you.”


Lebanon investigates death of former customs official

Updated 5 min 37 sec ago

Lebanon investigates death of former customs official

Lebanon investigates death of former customs official
  • Col. Munir Abu Rjeili was found dead, in his home in Qartaba, some 40 km northeast of Beirut, from a blow to the head
  • Leading Druze politician Walid Jumblatt questioned whether there was a link with the Aug. 4 explosion at Beirut port

BEIRUT: Lebanese authorities are investigating the killing of a retired customs officer in what a leading politician described as a “terrible incident.”
Col. Munir Abu Rjeili was found dead in his home on Wednesday in Qartaba, some 40 km (25 miles) northeast of Beirut, with a blow to the head, a security source said.
Leading Druze politician Walid Jumblatt asked on Twitter on Thursday what was behind the killing. He questioned whether there was a link with the Aug. 4 explosion at Beirut port that killed about 200 people and devastated swathes of the capital.
“Is this terrible incident to obstruct any serious investigation into the case of the explosion at Beirut port?” Jumblatt wrote.
But a senior interior ministry source said: “So far, no link has been found between the port and the murder.”
Abu Rjeili’s career in Lebanese customs included leading a Beirut division that counters overland smuggling, serving at the airport and heading a division of the Higher Customs Council, according to CV sent by a relative and lawyer, Joseph Khalil.
Abu Rjeili had not been summoned for questioning in the investigation in to the Beirut blast probe and had not served at the port, the source said.
Khalil, the lawyer, said the family was waiting for the results of the investigation.
Four months since the explosion, Lebanese are still awaiting the final results of the investigation, after authorities promised a full and swift probe.
President Michel Aoun last month called for the acceleration of the investigation.
The first warning about the cargo that blew up in Beirut port came in 2014 from another late Lebanese customs officer, Col. Joseph Skaf. Skaf’s family believe his death in 2017 was murder, possibly connected to his long career as a customs officer fighting criminality and drug smuggling.