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G7 leaders to sign anti-pandemic declaration

German Chancellor Angela Merkel (2-L) and U.S. President Joe Biden (2-R) are shown at the beginning of their meeting Saturday on the sidelines of the G7 summit, in St. Ives, Cornwall, Britain. Photo by Guido Bergmann/EPA-EFE
German Chancellor Angela Merkel (2-L) and U.S. President Joe Biden (2-R) are shown at the beginning of their meeting Saturday on the sidelines of the G7 summit, in St. Ives, Cornwall, Britain. Photo by Guido Bergmann/EPA-EFE

June 12 (UPI) -- G7 leaders on Saturday plan to sign a Carbis Bay declaration on health to prevent another global pandemic, according to a British government statement.

Under the declaration, the G7 leaders will be "vowing to take steps to ensure the global devastation caused by the coronavirus is never repeated," the statement said. They will commit to using all their resources toward this goal when they meet in Cornwall for the second day of the G7 summit Saturday.

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The declaration is a "historic statement setting out a series of concrete commitments to prevent any repeat of the human and economic devastation wreaked by coronavirus," the British government statement said.

"In the last year the world has developed several effective coronavirus vaccines, licenses and manufactured them at pace and is now getting them into the arms of people who need them," Prime Minister Boris Johnson said. "But to truly defeat coronavirus we need to prevent a pandemic like this from every happening again. That means learning lessons from the last 18 months and doing to differently next time around.

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"I am proud that for the first time today the world's leading democracies have come together to make sure that never again will we be caught unawares," Johnson added.

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The British government said it plans to establish a new center to prevent infectious diseases from spreading from animals to humans, noting that 75% of new human diseases originate in animals and these diseases have been emerging at an increasing rate.

Britain's chief scientific adviser Patrick Vallance and American philanthropist Melinda French Gates will present to G7 leaders and guests the "100 Days Mission to Respond to Future Pandemic Threats," an independent report from the Pandemic Preparedness Partnership, a group of international experts from across government and scientific institutions. Britain established the group earlier this year to advise on prevention of pandemics.

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The "100 day mission" includes accelerating development and licensing of vaccines, treatments and diagnostics for future disease to a time frame of 100 days, and strengthening the World Health Organization to reinforce global surveillance networks and capacity to identify infectious disease.

The Carbis Bay declaration will incorporate the recommendations established in the report.

The second day of the G7 summit will also focus on strategic competition with China. U.S. President Joe Biden is expected to call out China over its actions in Xinjiang, Hong Kong and South China Sea.

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"Whether it is ending the Covid-19 pandemic everywhere, meeting the demands for an accelerating climate crisis, or confronting the harmful activities of the governments of China and Russia, the United States must lead from a position of strength," Biden wrote in an opinion piece for The Washington Post earlier this month.

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On the eve of the G7 Leaders' Summit in Cornwall, Joe Biden and his British counterpart Johnson, agreed in a joint statement to support further investigation of COVID-19 origins, "including in China," the South China Morning Post reported Thursday.

On Saturday, U.S. President Joe Biden also held a bilateral meeting with French President Emmanuel Macron at the Carbis Bay Hotel and Estate in Saint Ives, Britain, where they reaffirmed their commitment to deepening bilateral ties and to the Transatlantic alliance.

The two leaders also emphasized their commitment to ending the COVID-19 pandemic, including donating vaccines to countries in need and efforts to prevent a future health crisis. They also reaffirmed their dedication to reforming the global tax system to address global inequities.

Biden also praised France for its leadership on tackling climate change through the Paris Agreement and both leaders discussed their work to strengthen and modernize NATO and cooperation to counterterrorism, including in the Sahel, and other shared foreign policy priorities in China and Russia.

At the meeting, Macron said he was "definitely" convinced that allies in the United States were back, and Biden added that he felt "very strongly about the cohesion of NATO."

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"We have to -- deal with this pandemic and the COVID-19," Macron said. "We have to face a lot of challenges, a lot of crisis -- climate change. And for all these issues, what we need is cooperation. And I think it's great to have the U.S. president part of the club and very willing to cooperate. And I think that what you -- what you demonstrate is that leadership is partnership. And -- and we do appreciate it."

On Sunday, Biden and first lady Jill Biden, plan to stop by Windsor Castle to meet with Queen Elizabeth.

The Grenadier Guards, one of the British Army's longest-serving units, will give a Royal Salute, and the U.S. National Anthem will be played, Buckingham Palace has announced. Joe Biden will also watch a military parade with the queen and the first lady.

Queen Elizabeth has welcomed four other presidents at Windsor Castle during her reign, including Ronald Reagan, George W. Bush, Barack Obama, and Donald Trump.

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