The G20 countries promised a “united front” Thursday in the fight against the coronavirus, claiming that they injected 5 trillion dollars into the world economy to counter the pandemic in the middle of the forecasts of a deep recession.
President Donald Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin joined the emergency videoconference chaired by the King of Saudi Arabia, which called for coordinated action while facing pressure to end a war of oil prices between Riyadh and Moscow which has upset the energy markets.
The talks come amid criticism that the G20 has been slow in tackling the Covid-19 pandemic, which has claimed more than 21,000 lives worldwide according to official data, and set off financial shock waves as more than three billion people are locked up.
“We are firmly determined to present a united front against this common threat,” the leaders said in a joint statement after the summit. “We are injecting more than $ 5 trillion into the global economy, as part of targeted fiscal policy, economic measures and guarantee systems to counter the social, economic and financial impacts of the pandemic.”
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As concerns grow for poor countries without access to capital markets or adequate health facilities, G20 leaders have also committed to working with organizations such as the International Monetary Fund to deploy a “robust” financial package to support developing countries.
“It is our responsibility to reach out to developing and least developed countries to enable them to build capacity and improve their infrastructure to overcome this crisis and its aftermath,” said King Salman.
The 20 most industrialized countries in the world are scrambling to defend their economy devastated by viruses when it is predicted that they will probably plunge into a recession.
On Wednesday, the financial rating agency Moody’s estimated that the G20’s overall gross domestic product would contract by 0.5% this year, the American economy contracting by 2.0% and the euro zone by 2.2%.
This week, French President Emmanuel Macron and his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping called for an emergency G20 summit to limit the impact of the pandemic.
The lack of immediate action contrasts with the financial crisis of 2008, when the group quickly took action to mobilize assistance for vulnerable countries.
Discussions on global coordination have not yet resonated under Trump’s isolationist presidency.
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On Wednesday, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo targeted China, saying that the best diplomats in the Group of Seven agreed with him that Beijing was carrying out a “disinformation” campaign on the pandemic.
During G7 talks, a day before the G20 summit, Pompeo said that Beijing was engaged in a social media campaign that included conspiracy theories that claimed that the United States was behind the virus, which was detected for the first time in the Chinese metropolis of Wuhan.
“If G20 leaders can put politics aside and reach a collective G20 agreement, countries have a better chance of success or of providing more stimulus than by themselves,” Markus Engels told AFP. , from the Global Solutions Initiative, a network of think tanks. .
“Coordination between the G20 sends a strong message of unity and trust, both of which are urgently needed.” Crude oil prices – hammered by the impact of the surge in demand as well as a price war between Saudi Arabia and Russia – should also be at the center of the talks.
Riyadh faces pressure from Washington to reverse its decision to increase production and offer the largest price cuts in two decades, in retaliation for Russia’s refusal to tighten supply as the virus has undermined Requirement.
Pompeo on Wednesday urged Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman to “seize the opportunity” and “reassure the global energy and capital markets”.
However, the Kremlin said that “the subject of oil” was not an option.
G20 members were joined by leaders from other affected countries, including Spain, Jordan, Singapore and Switzerland, as well as by international organizations such as the United Nations and the World Bank.