UK PM to host virtual meeting of G7 leaders

London: UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson will host a virtual meeting of the G7 leaders on Friday to discuss efforts to ensure an equal distribution of Covid-19 vaccines and prevent future pandemics.

Johnson will call for a new global approach to pandemics, drawing on lessons from the divisions that characterized the initial international response to the coronavirus outbreak, according to a press statement released Saturday night by Downing Street.

“The solutions to the challenges we face, from the colossal mission to get vaccines to every single country, to the fight to reverse the damage done to our ecosystems and lead a sustainable recovery from coronavirus, lie in the discussions we have with our friends and partners around the world,” Johnson said in the statement.

Noting that governments around the world have a responsibility to work together to put vaccines to the best possible use, he said: “I hope 2021 will be remembered as the year humanity worked together like never before to defeat a common foe.”

The meeting will be the first hosted by Johnson as part of the UK’s G7 Presidency this year and the first gathering of the bloc’s leaders since April 2020.

The Prime minister will use the meeting, which will also be US President Joe Biden’s first major multilateral engagement since he took office on January 20, to call for leaders to work together on a global approach to pandemics that brings an end to the nationalist and divisive politics that marred the initial response to coronavirus.

Johnson will argue that the last 12 months of the pandemic have shown that no country can be safe until every country is safe from the pandemic, the Downing Street statement said, adding that the rollout of vaccines offers a fresh opportunity to demonstrate the value of international cooperation.

The G7 leaders’ meeting will be attended by the leaders of the UK, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and the US, and the Presidents of the European Council and the European Commission, the Downing Street statement said.

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