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G 20 leaders likely to discuss covid 19 in virtual summit

G 20 leaders likely to discuss covid 19 in virtual summit
Saudi Arabia, which is the chair of the G-20 this year, is going to take the lead in the scheduling of the video-conference, which could be conducted as early as Thursday. (File Photo)

Amidst the global COVID-19 pandemic, moves are afoot to schedule an extraordinary G-20 leaders’ summit through video-conference this week. Saudi Arabia, which is the chair of the G-20 this year, is going to take the lead in the scheduling of the video-conference, which could be conducted as early as Thursday.

On Tuesday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi spoke to European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen and discussed the global situation in the context of the pandemic.

“The two leaders discussed possible cooperation within the G-20 framework and the forthcoming video-conference in this context,” a statement by the Ministry of External Affairs said.

External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar spoke to his counterpart in the EU, Vice President and High Representative Josep Borrell. “Assured him of our fullest support in the return of EU citizens from India,” Jaishankar tweeted.

Jaishankar also had a phone conversation with Chinese State Councillor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi.

Earlier, Modi had called up Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman and discussed the possibility of a G-20 leaders’ summit through a video-conference. The Indian leadership had also reached out to Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison in this regard.

Finance ministers of the G-20 have already spoken to each other over video conference. This could be followed by a G-20 sherpa video conference on Wednesday or Thursday.

A video conference of senior health professionals of SAARC countries is proposed to be held on March 26 to exchange experiences on combating the spread of COVID-19, officials said on Monday. This will be a follow-up to the video-conference of SAARC leaders on March 15.

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