We must give a strong message of hope and reassurance to people: King Salman

Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman bin Abdulaziz. (SPA)

Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman called on fellow leaders to rise to the challenge together and give a strong message of hope and reassurance to our people through adopting policies to mitigate the crisis triggered by the coronavirus pandemic.

“This has been an extraordinary year. The COVID-19 pandemic has been an unprecedented shock that affected the entire world within a short period of time; causing global economic and social losses. Our peoples and economies are still suffering from this shock. However; we will do our best to overcome this crisis through international cooperation;” King Salman said in his opening remarks at the 15th G20 Leaders’ Summit that got underway virtually on Saturday under his chairmanship.

Meeting under exceptional conditions

At the outset of his speech; King Salman welcomed the world leaders to the summit for the second time this year.

“It is unfortunate that we are unable to host you in-person in Riyadh; due to the exceptional circumstances that we are all facing this year. Still, we are delighted to see you all today; and we thank you for your participation,” the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques said.

King Salman showed confidence that the summit will deliver significant and decisive results and will lead to adopting economic and social policies that will restore hope and reassurance to the people of the world.

“Although we are optimistic about the progress made in developing vaccines, therapeutics; and diagnostics tools for COVID-19, we must work to create the conditions for affordable and equitable access to these tools for all peoples. At the same time, we must prepare better for any future pandemic.”

Supporting economy message

“I am confident that the Riyadh Summit will deliver significant and decisive results and will lead to adopting economic and social policies that will restore hope and reassurance to the people of the world;” he said.

We must also continue to support the global economy and reopen our economies and borders to facilitate the mobility of trade and people.

Referring to efforts made by the G20 under the Saudi presidency to mitigate the impact of the pandemic, King Salman said: “We have expressed our commitment during our Extraordinary Summit to urgently mobilize resources and we all pledged, at the onset of the crisis; over $21 billion to support the global efforts to combat this pandemic.”

“We also took extraordinary measures to support our economies by injecting over $11 trillion to support individuals and businesses.”

“We also extended our social safety nets to protect those prone to losing their jobs or source of income. To this end; we have provided emergency support to the developing countries, including the G20 Debt Service Suspension Initiative to the low-income countries,” King Salman added.

He also called on the leaders of the group to provide support to the developing countries in a coordinated manner to maintain the development already achieved over the past decades.

Basics for sustainability

King Salman also underlined the need to continue laying the basic foundations for robust, sustainable, and inclusive growth.

“We need to promote access to opportunity for all; especially women and youth to enhance their roles in the society and in the job market through education; training, job creation; as well as supporting entrepreneurship, strengthening financial inclusion; and bridging the digital gaps among individuals,” King Salman said in his speech.

He also drew the attention of the participants of the summit to climate change concerns.

“We also need to create the conditions for a more sustainable economy. Therefore, we have advocated the Circular Carbon Economy; as an effective approach for achieving our climate goals and ensuring a cleaner; more sustainable, and affordable energy systems,” the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques stressed.

“We must lead the international community in preserving and conserving our environment. In this context; we advocate the need to combat land degradation and conserve coral reefs and biodiversity to send a strong signal about our commitment to safeguard our planet;” he added.

“Realizing that trade is a key driver of economic recovery; we have adopted the Riyadh Initiative on the Future of the WTO; with the aim of making the multilateral trading system more capable to face any present or future challenges, King Salman said.