The Spanish Government has observed in recent days a significant change in attitude in the US delegation in favor of reaching agreements on climate, trade, gender inequality or multilateralism at the top of G-20 that this weekend is being celebrated virtually in Riyadh (Saudi Arabia).
In 2019, the US avoided joining the final declaration of the G-20 summit in Osaka (Japan) due to the disagreement of its president, Donald Trump, with the Paris Agreement against climate change. There was also no expectation of being able to join the US this year in the same endeavor. Furthermore, the talks between the negotiators (‘Sherpas’, in diplomatic terminology) since the beginning of the year did not augur any agreement regarding the role of the UN and the World Health Organization (WHO) in the global fight against pandemic. Likewise, there were difficulties in reconciling the interests of the United States and China in a joint communication regarding the rules of the game of the International Trade. And the presidency of Saudi Arabia, a country ally of the United States, raised difficulties in underlining the commitment of the G-20 in the fight against women’s inequality.
However, sources from the Spanish delegation have appreciated in recent days and this week a relevant change in the US negotiators that suggests that an agreement at 20 will be possible at this summit and not at “19 + 1” , as in Osaka.
The change in attitude is attributed to the next Donald Trump in the White House after the recent electoral victory of Joe Biden and the more cooperative attitude of the Democrat in international relations. However, these same sources advise prudence since the ultimate reaction of those who still occupy the position is unpredictable. White House. In fact, although the US Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, will be present (virtually) in Saudi Arabia, there is still uncertainty about the participation in the Donald Trump summit.
Pandemic, economy and human rights
Thus, this weekend’s summit in Riyadh will be marked by the global fight against the pandemic and against its economic consequences, under the shadow of the next presidential replacement in the US. In an intervention prior to the meeting, the director of the International Monetary Fund, Kristalina Georgieva, called on Thursday to eliminate trade barriers for medical technology to promote the fight against the virus worldwide. “Although a medical solution to the crisis is in sight, the road to economic recovery remains difficult and prone to setbacks,” he said Georgieva.
In the first summit organized by an Arab country, Saudi Arabia is coming under strong criticism in the matter of human rights on the part of different organizations. International Amnesty has urged G20 leaders to denounce “the blatant hypocrisy” of the Saudi authorities on women’s rights and the imprisonment of activists.