Falmouth (United Kingdom) (AFP)
G7 leaders opened a three-day summit on Friday aimed at helping end the Covid-19 pandemic and forging a climate-centric economic recovery, after pledging to donate a billion doses vaccine to the world’s poorest countries.
US President Joe Biden and his colleagues from Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy and Japan will sit down for their first face-to-face rally in nearly two years, after the pandemic has wiped out last year’s peak.
Gathered under the protection of a stifling security operation at the Cornish seaside resort of Carbis Bay in southwest England, the leaders are also expected to issue warnings to Russia and China.
Most of the G7 heads of state and government will meet again in Brussels on Monday for a NATO meeting, before Biden heads to his first summit with President Vladimir Putin in Geneva, pledging to provide a direct assessment of Russian behavior.
After arriving in Britain on Wednesday for his first overseas tour as president, Biden told US military personnel that “the United States is back and the democracies of the world stand together”, following the tumult of the autonomous administration of his predecessor Donald Trump.
G7 host British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said the coronavirus outbreak originating in China had also “seriously shaken” the international order.
“In Carbis Bay, we have to put those days behind us,” he said in a pre-summit message.
“Now is the time for the world’s largest and most technologically advanced democracies to shoulder their responsibilities and immunize the world, because no one can be properly protected until everyone has been protected. ”
– Covid and climate –
Building on Biden’s pledge to order 500 million doses of the Covid-19 vaccine for distribution to poorer countries, Johnson plans to urge Britain to offer “at least” 100 million excess doses over the course of of the next year.
In total, G7 leaders are expected to adopt a broader pledge to deliver up to a billion doses, in order to “end the pandemic in 2022,” according to Downing Street.
World Health Organization regional director for Africa Matshidiso Moeti said vaccine sharing was a “do or die” problem, with low doses and cases increasing across the continent.
Campaigners have called inequalities in distribution “vaccine apartheid,” calling on wealthy countries to do more to help countries in the South, including by giving up intellectual property rights to vaccines and treatments.
But Oxfam said beating the virus would take more than “handouts”, estimating that at the current rate of vaccinations it would take 57 years for low-income countries to achieve the same level of protection as G7 countries.
“This is not only morally reprehensible, it is counterproductive given the risk posed by the mutations of the coronavirus,” he added.
Leaders are also reflecting on plans to help the developing world move away from fossil fuels ahead of the UN climate meeting COP26 in November in Scotland, as part of a pledge by richer countries to switch to emissions “Net” by 2050.
Like the G7, Britain wants COP26 to be held in person and has announced plans to offer vaccine doses to delegates from poorer countries if they cannot get them otherwise.
G7 leaders will be joined over the weekend by leaders from Australia, South Africa, South Korea, United Nations and European Union, with India joining remotely .
EU leaders pledge to pressure Johnson over Britain’s reluctance to impose post-Brexit trade deals for Northern Ireland – a point of controversy that also exerts Biden, a proud Irish- American with a distant family still in Ireland.
Belfast Police issued warnings Thursday evening after more than 3,000 pro-British loyalists demonstrated against the “protocol” which effectively keeps Northern Ireland in the customs union and the EU’s single market. The protest violated virus restrictions on the size of public gatherings.
– Marshmallows by sea –
The British Prime Minister hopes to ease the atmosphere at a beach barbecue on Saturday, joined by his new wife Carrie and other G7 spouses, with a group of sailors singing and roasting marshmallows around fireplaces.
This will follow a reception hosted on Friday by Queen Elizabeth II and the refounding of the US-British alliance in an updated ‘Atlantic Charter’, modeled after the WWII pact that was signed at sea for help build a new world order.
“The G7 meeting is really a chance for the West, in particular, to kind of revive itself,” commented Professor of International Relations Richard Whitman at the University of Kent.
“After the pandemic, on the one hand, we have a new American president coming to Europe, reconnecting with allies, and at the same time, we also have a slow resumption of the pandemic, in particular from the G7 countries, ” he said.
While the United States under Trump had “set the wrong tone” at the recent G7 summits, “what we are seeing here is that the United States is really demonstrating that it is the right guy and restoring its claims. to international leadership ”.
© 2021 AFP