Saudi Arabia Loses G20 Showcase as Pandemic Forces it to go Virtual
The leaders of the world’s 20 largest economies will convene this weekend for a virtual session of the annual G-20 summit, where the most powerful statesmen on the globe discuss an array of pressing geopolitical issues. The summit, initially scheduled to be held in Saudi Arabia as part of a rotating host system, will instead be conducted online, a blow to Riyadh’s hopes of showcasing to the world its lavish and luxurious cities and technological prowess. Several European and American lawmakers and human rights groups have called on forum members to boycott the event as a statement against Saudi Arabia’s continued involvement in the Yemen civil war, its reported human and civil rights abuses and the palace’s role in the gruesome murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi. The mayors of Paris, London, New York and Los Angeles have announced they will not attend the event in protest. Item one on the summit’s agenda will be global response to the deteriorating economic and health crises caused by the coronavirus pandemic. The World Health Organization has called on the participating nations to outline a plan for the rapid distribution of vaccines, tests and drugs, while the issue of debt relief for countries stricken hardest by the virus will also be discussed.