G20 leaders must work towards equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines – King Salman

Media watches King Salman's virtual speech live at the media centre during an opening session of the 15th annual G20 Leaders' Summit in Riyadh on Nov. 21, 2020. (REUTERS)
Short Url
Updated 21 November 2020

G20 leaders must work towards equitable access to COVID-19 vaccines – King Salman

  • King Salman: We will do our best to overcome this crisis through international cooperation
  • G20 countries should provide support to developing countries to maintain development progress, the king said

LONDON: G20 leaders must work towards fair and affordable access to COVID-19 vaccines, King Salman said during his opening remarks at the G20 summit in Riyadh on Saturday.

“Although we are optimistic about the progress made in developing vaccines, therapeutics and diagnostics tools for COVID-19, we must work to create the conditions for affordable and equitable access to these tools for all peoples,” he said, opening the unprecedented meeting held virtually due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. 

“It is unfortunate that we are unable to host you in person in Riyadh, due to the exceptional circumstances that we are all facing this year,” King Salman told G20 leaders.

“Our peoples and economies are still suffering from this shock. However, we will do our best to overcome this crisis through international cooperation,” the king said. 

The summit is expected to be dominated by the coronavirus pandemic and its economic repercussions.  

The king said that the 20 largest global economies had contributed $ 21 billion to confronting COVID-19 and “took extraordinary measures to support our economies by injecting over $11 trillion to support individuals and businesses.”

G20 countries should provide support to developing countries to maintain development progress, the king said.

The role of women and youth in society and the labor market must be strengthened, he added.

King Salman added that G20 countries must lead the international community in conserving and protecting the environment, combating land degradation and preserving coral reefs. 

He added that G20 countries have adopted the Riyadh Initiative on the Future of the WTO which aims to make the multilateral trading system more capable of facing any challenges.

Economies and borders must be reopened to facilitate the movement of trade and people, the king said. 

The Kingdom launched the summit with an aerial display of passenger and aerobatic planes over Riyadh and on Friday, a virtual “family photo” of G20 heads of state was displayed on the walls of the historic Salwa Palace in Diriyah at a cultural dinner for journalists, guests and envoys. 

Individual photos of the G20 leaders were joined together with King Salman at the center.

“I am confident that the Riyadh Summit will deliver significant and decisive results and will lead to adopting economic and social policies that will restore hope and reassurance to the people of the world,” King Salman said at the end of his speech. 

Earlier on Saturday, King Salman said that Saudi Arabia was pleased with the meeting of the leaders of the G20 countries, stressing that the G20 had demonstrated its ability to join efforts against COVID-19.

“The group demonstrated its strength and ability to cooperate in order to mitigate the effects of the coronavirus pandemic on the world,” he tweeted.

It’s everyone’s responsibility “to move towards to a better, healthier and prosperous future for all,” King Salman added.

 


Saudi aerial photographer reveals secrets of AlUla Old Town to global audience

Updated 25 November 2020

Saudi aerial photographer reveals secrets of AlUla Old Town to global audience

  • Use of drones by cameraman brings history to life in one of KSA’s most famous archaeological sites

MAKKAH: A Saudi aerial photographer’s passion for history has won him global acclaim for images revealing the secrets of AlUla Old Town.

Ali Al-Suhaimi’s eye-in-the-sky portrayal of the famous Islamic city has helped to provide a fresh insight into the past lives of the inhabitants of the now deserted settlement.

AlUla Old Town, located in the north of the Kingdom about 20 km from the archaeological site of Mada’in Salih, is seven centuries old and filled with mosques and markets that reflect its beauty and heritage.

Rich in history, the region was an ancient trade station linking the north and south of the peninsula and one of the main stopping-off points for pilgrims traveling between Syria and Makkah.

Al-Suhaimi told Arab News that his inspiration to photograph the area from the air came from his deep-rooted desire to find out more about the country’s ancient civilizations.

“The idea from the onset revolved around simulating the history of AlUla region, which has become one of the most important heritage attractions on a local and international level.

“The location includes stone landmarks and high mountains which set a breathtaking rocky harmony depicted by the drones of aerial photographers.

“It was the place of people who set the link with us on architectural and human levels. 

The region is one of the great forgotten treasures of antiquity. (Social media)

They built a town which bears witness to the magnificence and cultural depth and momentum of its human legacy,” he said. Studies of AlUla’s castles have proved that the site was once a thriving community, Al-Suhaimi added. “Photographing these places in all their detail only adds to my enthusiasm for transmitting images to a world craving for the secrets of these places of old times to be unveiled.”

The high-flying lensman has snapped all of AlUla Old Town’s castles and villages, as well as the castle of Musa bin Nusayr, and the Aja and Salma mountains which rise to 1,000 meters.

By using drones, Al-Suhaimi has been able to get close-up pictures of the houses and buildings that occupy the site. “There are monolithic houses that reflect the depth of relationships that linked those people who fused with each other as if they were one family.”

HIGHLIGHT

AlUla Old Town, located in the north of the Kingdom about 20 km from the archaeological site of Mada’in Salih, is seven centuries old and filled with mosques and markets that reflect its beauty and heritage.

He pointed out that although the houses seemed to be randomly clustered together, they were actually “architectural enigmas” which had been cleverly designed to ensure a smooth flow of air in and around them.

Aerial photographs of the town had also raised questions about how its people had been able to move around from building to building in such a close-knit environment.

Al-Suhaimi said he had gained all the necessary licenses to operate drones in the area. “We were keen on taking pictures and transmitting them to the whole world, as internationally it is one of the most outstanding Islamic cities. Its mud houses are living witnesses that resisted time.”

He added that he had been astonished by the positive global feedback from his photographs of the region. One notable feature of AlUla Old Town is the Tantora sundial. The shadow that it cast was used to mark the beginning of the winter planting season.

“They set stones atop one another so that the shadow would be projected on the tip of the stone once per year, which is evidence of the astronomy legacy of the people of the region,” said Al-Suhaimi.