G7 to focus on rebuilding world economy, UK PM Johnson says

LONDON (Reuters) - British Prime Minister Boris Johnson opened the Group of Seven virtual leaders meeting on Friday by calling for a plan to rebuild the global economy after the ravages of the COVID-19 pandemic.

On a video call with fellow leaders, Johnson said it was great to have new faces such as U.S. President Joe Biden and Italy’s new prime minister, Mario Draghi. During the introductions he had to ask German Chancellor Angela Merkel to mute while he was speaking.

“We also want to work together on building back better from the pandemic - a slogan that I think Joe has used several times. I think he may have nicked it from us, but I certainly nicked it from somewhere else,” Johnson said.

“The G7 is the great gathering of like-minded liberal free-trading democracies, it’s a very very important forum, we stand together on many issues around the world, whether its our views on the coup in Myanmar... or on the detention of Alexei Navalny in Moscow.”

Reporting by Guy Faulconbridge and William James; editing by Alistair Smout