Saudi Arabia became the first Arab nation on Sunday to take over the G20 presidency as it seeks to bounce back onto the world stage following global uproar over its human rights record.
The oil-rich kingdom has promoted a liberalisation drive including granting greater rights to women but faced strong criticism over a crackdown on dissent and the killing last year of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
The G20 presidency, which Saudi Arabia takes over from Japan, will see it host world leaders for a global summit in its capital on November 21-22, 2020.
“The kingdom of Saudi Arabia assumes the G20 Presidency today, leading up to the summit in Riyadh” in 2020, the official Saudi Press Agency (SPA) said.
“The Saudi G20 presidency is committed to continuing the work from Osaka and promoting multilateral consensus.”
Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MBS), the kingdom’s de facto ruler, hailed it as a “unique opportunity” to shape international consensus, SPA added.