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Putin urges G20 to lift sanctions on essential goods due to COVID-19

Xinhua | Updated: 2020-03-27 09:42

Russian President Vladimir Putin takes part in a video link, held by leaders from the Group of 20 to discuss the coronavirus pandemic and its economic impacts, at his residence outside Moscow, Russia, March 26, 2020. [Photo/Agencies]

MOSCOW - Russian President Vladimir Putin urged Thursday the leaders of the Group of 20 (G20) to lift all sanctions on supplies of essential goods until the COVID-19 pandemic is under control.

"It is important for the period of crisis to create the so-called green corridors, free from trade wars and sanctions for the mutual supply of medicines, food, equipment and technology," Putin said, addressing the G20 virtual summit, according to an official Kremlin transcript.

According to Putin, ideally, a joint moratorium should be introduced on restrictions on essential goods, as well as financial transactions for their procurement.

Putin said that problems associated with the new pandemic may result in more widespread shocks than the financial crisis of 2008-2009, and trade conflicts and sanctions exacerbate the recession.

He said G20 countries need a common plan of action to stabilize the situation, support economies and restore confidence in world markets.

Global international organizations do not have a mechanism for automatic stabilization in the event of a crisis, so it is necessary to reorganize them efficiently and as soon as possible, Putin said.

He said that it is necessary to ensure access to financing for countries that are hit by the pandemic and experiencing resource shortages.

For this purpose he proposed to create a special fund under the auspices of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), financed primarily by the central banks, which are issuers of currencies included in the IMF basket.

Then the right may be granted to any IMF member to borrow from this fund in proportion to its share in the world economy at a zero rate for the long term, Putin said.

He said that the key risk is long-term unemployment, the peak of which in any scenario will exceed the level of 2009.

The dynamics of unemployment will be a key indicator of the effectiveness of anti-crisis measures taken by G20, Putin said.

In the field of healthcare, joint research by G20 countries could also seriously accelerate the development of vaccines and medicines, he said.

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