Climate Change, COVID, and Iran Top US Agenda at G20 Meeting

The leaders of the G20 group of countries gathered in a face-to-face meeting in Rome, Italy, this week, are likely to discuss the global recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic that has been hampered by a series of problems.

Issues to be discussed at the meeting, which will be their first meeting since the pandemic hit the world in March 2020, include the energy crisis that has spurred higher fuel and utility prices, the COVID-19 outbreak and bottlenecks in supply chains that have resulted in the impede the passage of the economy and goods to consumers.

The G20 group is the countries with the largest economies in the world, consisting of 19 countries plus the European Union.

On his trip to Europe, White House National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan highlighted the Biden administration’s priorities at the meeting.

“What the G20 will focus on is the future,” Sullivan told reporters. He said these included discussing cooperation with other countries to prevent future pandemics, and discussing climate change and focusing on Iran’s nuclear ambitions.

Sullivan dismissed the lack of agreement on US domestic policies, particularly in Congress, that would hinder President Joe Biden’s ability to discuss ways to combat climate change.

Biden, the second Catholic president in the United States, will meet Pope Francis at the Vatican on Friday. The visit was partly personal as Biden is also known to be quite religious. He will also discuss battling climate problems and confronting the autocracy with the Pope.

Biden will also visit the host of the G-20 summit, Italian President Sergio Mattarella and Prime Minister Mario Draghi before meeting French President Emmanuel Macron.

Biden is expected to meet Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who days ago dropped his threat to expel Western diplomats. Erdogan has made purchases of Russian surface-to-air missiles, hindering his country’s participation in the F-35 fighter aircraft program.

At the meetings, Biden is expected to discuss Iran’s nuclear threat, and Iran’s decision to return to nuclear talks next month in Vienna, Austria. [lt/em]

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