G7 summit: The key moments of world leaders’ meeting in Cornwall

From sea shanties to pointed fashion statements

Leonie Chao-Fong
Monday 14 June 2021 00:08

As the G7 summit draws to a close, here’s a look at some of the most memorable moments from the past few days:

Boris-Biden beach walk love-in

Boris Johnson and Joe Biden met as leaders for the first time on Thursday on the eve of the summit, swapping gifts and handshakes for elbow bumps as they posed for photographs before sitting down for talks. Jill Biden and Carrie Johnson joined their husbands hand-in-hand on a stroll along the Carbis Bay promenade before later dipping their toes in the water as baby Wilfred watched in the sand. The US president joked: “I told the prime minister we have something in common. We both married way above our stations.”

Mr Johnson hailed Biden as a “breath of fresh air” and played down their differences over Northern Ireland, instead he emphasised the closeness of the partnership between the two countries. “It’s wonderful to listen to the Biden administration and to Joe Biden because there’s so much that they want to do together with us - from security and NATO to climate change,” the PM said. “It’s fantastic, it’s a breath of fresh air. There’s a lot of things they want to do together.”

US announces 500 million Pfizer jabs donation

Following his initial meeting with Johnson on Thursday, President Biden announced his administration’s plan to donate 500 million doses of Pfizer’s Covid-19 vaccine to lower-income countries. He stressed the donation would come with “no strings attached”, comparing the US involvement in the global fight against the pandemic with its role as “the arsenal of democracy in World War 2.” The White House said it was the largest-ever donation of vaccines by a single country and the donation will be managed through the World Health Organisation-led Covax effort. The vaccines will be distributed to about 100 lower-income countries and the African Union.

On Sunday, Boris Johnson said the G7 had pledged over 1 billion Covid-19 vaccine doses for poorer nations – far short of the 11 billion doses sought by the WHO. Last month, Biden broke with European allies to throw his support behind a move at the World Trade Organisation to waive intellectual patents for coronavirus vaccines.

Sea shanties to woo world leaders

On Saturday night to wrap up the second day of the summit, Mr Johnson hosted a beach barbecue on Carbis Bay for some of the world’s most powerful figures. As scallop and crab claw canapés were passed around and guests enjoyed hot buttered rum and toasted marshmallows around fire pits on the beach, they were serenaded by the local sea shanty group, Du Hag Owr, who describe themselves as “Cornwall’s South Coast Shantymen”.  Guests were also treated to a fly-past from the famous RAF Red Arrows, roaring through the sky trailing white, red and blue smoke.

Downing Street was later forced to insist attendees behaved in a Covid-secure way after images from the event appeared to show no social distancing and guests not wearing masks.

Jill Biden’s jacket with a message

The first lady made a pointed fashion choice on her first overseas trip since moving into the White House in January, appearing in front of reporters wearing a simple black jacket which on the black was a message adorned with sparkle: “LOVE”. The choice seemed an apparent nod to her predecessor Melania Trump’s infamous “I REALLY DON’T CARE, DO YOU?” jacket, worn on a visit to an immigration detention centre in Texas amid a scandal about children being separated from their families at the border.

When asked if she could explain her choice of jacket, Dr Biden simply said that she was bringing “love from America”.

Boris swimming in the sea

The prime minister was seen taking a dip off the Cornwall coast on Saturday morning, before walking hand-in-hand with his wife along the beach near their luxurious hotel ahead of the day’s talks. Mr Johnson vowed to lose weight last year after ending up in intensive care with coronavirus and has been frequently pictured jogging and cycling since.

Further along the Cornish coast, hundreds of demonstrators also took to the sea and streets to protest against the lack of climate change action from world leaders attending the summit. Campaigners from Extinction Rebellion marched through Falmouth while cleaner seas campaigners Surfers Against Sewage paddled out into the bay from Gyllyngvase beach in Falmouth with banners declaring an “ocean and climate emergency”. The group Ocean Rebellion have also projected a protest message onto a ship in Falmouth harbour housing police officers.

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