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The leaders of the Group of Twenty countries will meet on Thursday at an “extraordinary” summit via the Internet, to “unite efforts to confront the epidemic” of the Corona virus, according to the announcement of the Saudi monarch, King Salman, who chairs the summit. The summit focuses on how to protect the world’s economy from recession, in the face of difficult measures taken by governments to reduce the spread of the pandemic.

Hold leaders of states Group of Twenty An emergency crisis summit via the Internet Thursday in an attempt to stave off the dangers of a recession in the global economy against the background of the emerging Corona virus, after criticism was directed at them slowly in dealing with the crisis.

US President Donald Trump and Russian Vladimir Putin are taking part in the virtual summit chaired by Saudi King Salman bin Abdulaziz in the midst of pressure on the kingdom to end the oil price war with Moscow.

The talks are taking place at a time when the virus has killed more than 21,000 people, and forced more than three billion people to stay home.

“At this critical time when the world faces the Corona pandemic, which affects people, health systems and the global economy, we meet the G20 at an extraordinary summit,” King Salman wrote in his Twitter account.

He added that the goal is to “come up with initiatives that fulfill our peoples’ hopes, enhance the role of our governments, and unite our efforts to confront this epidemic.”

G20 holds extraordinary summit on Corona virus

The talks, which are expected to start at 12:00 GMT, focus on how to protect the world’s most important economies from the consequences of the measures taken to prevent the spread of the virus, while the specter of an economic recession looms on the horizon.

The Moody’s credit rating agency expected on Wednesday that the gross domestic product in the twenty countries will shrink by 0.5 percent, that the US economy shrinks by 2 percent and the European economy by 2.2 percent.

The World Health Organization has urged G20 countries to provide support to “low and middle income countries”.

French presidential sources said that the virtual meeting will focus on “coordination at the health level”, as well as send a “strong signal” to financial markets about efforts to achieve economic stability.

The war of accusations between China and the United States

It comes in a situation where accusations about the Corona Virus are growing between Washington and Beijing. On Wednesday, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo attacked China, saying that top diplomats from the Group of Seven major industrialized nations had agreed with him that Beijing was waging a “misinformation” campaign over the epidemic.

In the G7 talks, one day before the G20 summit, Pompeo accused Beijing of participating in a social media campaign, which included conspiracy theories that the United States was behind the virus that was first discovered in Wuhan, China.

“The Communist Party of China poses a major threat to our health and to our way of life, as the epidemic clearly demonstrated,” Pompeo said after his virtual meeting with his group counterparts. Besides the United States, the Group of Seven includes Germany, France, Britain, Italy, Canada and Japan.

Oil prices

The issue of declining oil prices, due to the lack of demand and the price war between Saudi Arabia and Russia, is expected to be at the center of the discussions.

Riyadh is facing pressure from Washington to back down from its decision to raise production and offer the largest price cuts in two decades, in response to Russia’s refusal to extend an agreement to cut production.

On Wednesday, Pompeo urged Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman to “rise to the occasion” and “reassure energy and global financial markets.”

With world leaders divided, the meeting contrasts with the G20 summits that followed the 2008 financial crisis, when the group turned into a working cell to mobilize aid for vulnerable countries. Ian Bremer, president and founder of the Eurasia Consulting Group, said, “Unlike in 2008, the G20 appears absent.” This divergence is reinforced by the isolationist policy of US President Donald Trump.

France 24 / AFP

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