G-20 summit opens as leaders urge united response to virus

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President of China, Xi Jinping and President of the United States, Donald Trump (Photo: G20 Argentina/The White House / Andrea Hanks

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — The Group of 20 summit has begun with appeals by the world’s most powerful leaders to collectively chart a way forward as the coronavirus pandemic overshadows this year’s gathering, transforming it from in-person meetings to a virtual gathering of speeches and declarations.

The pandemic, which has claimed more than 1.37 million lives worldwide, has offered the G-20 an opportunity to prove how such bodies can facilitate international cooperation in crises — but has also underscored their shortcomings.

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President Donald Trump is among those expected to participate in the closed-door virtual sessions that are taking place Saturday and Sunday.

The Saudi monarch urged leaders to “rise to the challenge together”.