News World Donald Trump’s distraction as G20 leaders meet at global summit
Updated:

Donald Trump’s distraction as G20 leaders meet at global summit

Share
Twitter Facebook Reddit Pinterest Email

Donald Trump appeared distracted as powerful world leaders met on video conference for the two-day G20 summit.

As host nation’s leader, Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz welcomed countries in a nine-minute speech, the US president kept his head down, staring at something on his desk.

When the speech ended, Mr Trump issued a tweet on his favourite topic of a so-called rigged election.

“We will show massive and unprecedented fraud!” he wrote.

The G20 leaders, who oversee the world’s biggest economies, are debating how to distribute COVID-19 vaccines, drugs and tests around the world so that poorer countries are not left out as nations look for ways to manage a post-coronavirus recovery.

The COVID-19 pandemic, which will throw the global economy into a deep recession this year before an economic rebound expected in 2021, is at the top of the agenda.

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison is scheduled to attend later on Sunday.

G20 leaders are concerned that the pandemic might further deepen global divisions between the rich and the poor.

“We need to avoid at all costs a scenario of a two-speed world where only the richer can protect themselves against the virus and restart normal lives,” French President Emmanuel Macron told the summit.

To do that, the European Union urged G20 leaders to quickly put more money into a global project for vaccines, tests and therapeutics called Access to COVID-19 Tools (ACT) Accelerator.

“At the G20 Summit I called for $4.5 billion to be invested in ACT Accelerator by the end of 2020, for procurement & delivery of COVID-19 tests, treatments and vaccines everywhere,” European Commission head Ursula von der Leyen said on Twitter.

“We need to show global solidarity,” she said.

Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz gives an address opening the G20 summit. Photo: Getty

Russia’s President Vladimir Putin offered to provide Russia’s Sputnik V coronavirus vaccine to other countries and said Moscow was also preparing a second and third vaccine.

China, where the pandemic originated a year ago, also offered to cooperate on vaccines. China has five home-grown candidates for a vaccine undergoing the last phase of trials.

“China is willing to strengthen cooperation with other countries in the research and development, production, and distribution of vaccines,” Xi told the G20 Summit.

“We will … offer help and support to other developing countries, and work hard to make vaccines a public good that citizens of all countries can use and can afford,” he said.

To prepare for future outbreaks, the EU will propose a treaty on pandemics. “An international treaty would help us respond more quickly and in a more coordinated manner,” the chairman of EU leaders Charles Michel will tell the G20.

While the global economy is recovering from the depths of the crisis earlier this year, momentum is slowing in countries with resurging infection rates, the recovery is uneven and the pandemic is likely to leave deep scars, the International Monetary Fund said in a report for the G20 summit.

Especially vulnerable are poor and highly indebted countries, which are “on the precipice of financial ruin and escalating poverty, hunger and untold suffering”, United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres said.

To address this, the G20 will endorse a plan to extend a debt servicing moratorium for developing countries by six months to mid-2021, with a possibility of a further extension, said a draft G20 communique seen by Reuters.

World Bank President David Malpass warned the G20 that failing to provide more permanent debt relief to some countries now could lead to increased poverty and a repeat of the disorderly defaults seen in the 1980s.