The G20 summit seeks to address the outbreak of the Coronavirus and the stifling global economic crisis, but holding it on a screen limits bilateral dialogues and interactions behind the scenes.
The launch of the global event was not without some amusing and spontaneous shots. A person told the Saudi monarch that “the whole world is watching”, before delivering his speech, while the Chinese president requested technical assistance.
The following are the most important things to know about holding the summit in its default format: –
The summit was supposed to signal a strong Saudi return to the world stage. The wealthy kingdom planned to host a major summit that would have shed more light on the ambitious openness campaign of the de facto ruler, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, whose international reputation was tarnished after the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi in 2018.
He believes that the epidemic that made the summit impossible only by video, has severely undermined those hopes. “This year’s G20 conference will be a disappointment for Saudi Arabia because the hypothetical conference will not review developments in the kingdom in the way that Riyadh hopes,” said Ryan Pohl, a researcher at Stratfor for geopolitical research.
US President Donald Trump headed to the golf course after peering briefly on the summit. A source following the virtual sessions, which were closed to the media, said that Trump “said that he had done a wonderful job during his era, economically and in relation to the epidemic.”
After Trump left, Treasury Secretary Stephen Mnuchin represented him while the rest of the world leaders spoke.
The broadcast of King Salman’s opening speech seemed to have taken off earlier than planned, and soon stopped after someone realized this and warned the Saudi monarch.
Otherworld leaders appeared in thumbnails on one screen around a picture of King Salman, some of them appearing to be experiencing technical difficulties.
An aide to Chinese President Xi Jinping used a remote control in front of the screen camera, while French President Emmanuel Macron was apparently drinking a soft drink.
Soon, OECD official Angel Gurria realized that the meeting had begun and immediately turned off his cell phone.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who celebrates 15 years in power on Sunday, seemed in a comfortable position, following the word in high concentration, while Trump was busy with something on the table in front of him, it might be his phone.
John Kirton, director and founder of Canada-based Research Group, believes that “the virtual world makes automatic communication of leaders more difficult, and cancels side meetings on topics not on the summit’s agenda.”
Private jets for VIPs were absent from airports in the Kingdom, which reduced the carbon footprint of the event, in addition to the absence of motorcades, which would have led to a halt in traffic in some areas of Riyadh.
A new metro line that was scheduled to open in Riyadh during the summit did not bear fruit as planned.
The lack of an inclusive picture of the leaders has reminded us of the new coronavirus restrictions on movement and gatherings.
This photo and other side images were the most important event at the start of the G20 summits in the past, including the famous handshake between Russian President Vladimir Putin and Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in Buenos Aires in 2018.
Instead, a superimposed shot of the leaders was shown on a wall in the historic city of Diriyah during a dinner party on the eve of the summit.