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World

G7 talks vaccines after pleas to help poor

  • Raab stressed the importance of Covax but said there was an additional question of "what we do about surplus domestic supply".
05 May 2021

LONDON: The Group of Seven wealthy democracies will discuss coronavirus vaccines Wednesday as they face growing pressure to share stockpiles and know-how with poor nations trailing far behind on fighting the pandemic.

Foreign ministers of Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and the United States are wrapping up three days of talks in central London that will set the agenda for a G7 leaders' summit next month in Cornwall, southern England.

After a day focused on showing a common front of democracies towards China, the final sessions will also bring in development chiefs and address global challenges including the Covid-19 pandemic and climate change.

"A really valuable part of the G7 format is to think in the round -- what do we need to do to help the most vulnerable countries around the world?" British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab told reporters.

Wealthy nations have put an emphasis on Covax, a UN-backed programme meant to share vaccines with the poorest nations.

But rich nations have also effectively elbowed out Covax in the early stages, striking their own deals with drug manufacturers and taking the overwhelming share of the more than 1.2 billion doses of Covid-19 vaccine that have already been injected worldwide.

Raab stressed the importance of Covax but said there was an additional question of "what we do about surplus domestic supply".

The issues are "a really good opportunity for the G7 together with our Indo-Pacific partners to talk all of that through and come up with positive answers", Raab said.

Britain invited India to the G7 talks, seeking to include a democratic ally crucial to discussions on China -- but one which has been devastated in recent weeks by Covid.