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Biden to convene virtual COVID-19 summit on fringe of UN

Biden to convene virtual COVID-19 summit on fringe of UN

U.S. President Joe Biden clears his throat as he delivers remarks on the economy during a speech in the East Room of the White House in Washington, U.S., September 16, 2021. REUTERS/Leah Millis

WASHINGTON: President Joe Biden will host a virtual summit with world leaders on the coronavirus pandemic next Wednesday (Sep 22), a day after he addresses the United Nations General Assembly, the White House said Friday.

"This meeting is about expanding and enhancing our shared efforts to defeat COVID-19" and will seek to "align on a common vision" against the virus, Press Secretary Jen Psaki said in a statement.

The summit will be "on the margins of the UN General Assembly."

Biden, due to address the annual UN meeting on Tuesday, has pitched the United States as the global leader on the fight to get the world vaccinated, even if the claim is greeted with skepticism by some health NGOs and others.

No details about participants were provided.

Psaki said in her statement that the summit will build "from previous gatherings of world leaders and ministers in fora like the G7, G20, and Act Accelerator to rally civil society, NGOs, philanthropists, and industry along with world leaders and align on a common vision for defeating COVID-19 together."

The United States is by far the biggest donor of vaccines around the world, with Biden likening his government's efforts to the US military entry into World War II.

Biden is due to be back in the White House by the time he presides over the COVID-19 summit. In New York, home to the United Nations, strict safety measures have been announced, including a requirement for delegates to show proof of vaccination before entering the main hall.

Source: AGENCIES

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