• Kyodo

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Foreign ministers from the Group of 20 major economies confirmed Thursday the importance of easing border control restrictions imposed to reduce the risks of coronavirus infections, according to Saudi Arabia, president of the framework this year.

The ministers “acknowledged the importance of opening borders, uniting families, and promoting measures to allow the economy to thrive” in line with protective health measures and national regulations, Saudi Arabia said in a statement released after the virtual meeting.

The foreign ministers of the economies, meeting for the first time since the coronavirus pandemic took hold, were seeking to find a balance between resumption of socioeconomic activities and measures against the spread of the coronavirus.

“Reopening borders, in accordance with all the protective measures and national regulations, will help our economies to thrive, people to prosper,” Saudi Foreign Minister Faisal bin Farhan said in the statement.

The ministers also reaffirmed the group’s “important role” in promoting international cooperation for the recovery of the global economy amid the pandemic, according to the Japanese Foreign Ministry.

Foreign Minister Toshimitsu Motegi said at the meeting that it is essential to resume cross-border travel while containing the spread of infections, the ministry said.

Japan in principle bans the entry of foreign nationals who have recently been to any of 159 countries and regions, including the United States, China and all of Europe.

But stressing the need for economic recovery, it has agreed with some Asian countries to resume business travel under certain conditions related to safeguard measures from next Tuesday.

Saudi Arabia plans to hold a leaders’ summit in November in Riyadh.

The G20 consists of Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Britain, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, Mexico, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, South Korea, Turkey, the United States and the European Union.

In addition, representatives from six other countries, including Vietnam, this year’s chair of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations, as well as from the United Nations, World Health Organization, World Bank and Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development took part in the meeting.

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