The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan has boycotted the international summit hosted by Saudi Arabia over human rights concern.
He, alongside other major cities like New York and Los Angeles rejected the U20 invitation.
Khan who initially cited “diary commitments” said he would not be able to attend the Urban 20 summit (U20) held between 30 September and 2 October.
He however reportedly said he would be sending a representative to the summit in his place.
Later on, after pressure from a coalition of human rights groups, he claimed he would be instructing his officials not to attend the event to avoid ambiguity on his stance on human rights in Saudi.
A spokesperson from London’s City Hall said, “It has never been the mayor’s intention to attend this U20 summit and his invite has previously been formally declined.
“No one is representing him at the summit or speaking on behalf of London.”
“The normal practice is for an official of the GLA to observe such multilateral events as the U20, which cover the most pressing issues of our time, including the Covid-19 pandemic and the climate emergency – neither of which can be tackled without international cooperation,” he added.
“However, to avoid any implication that this observer status means support for the Saudi government, the GLA, exceptionally, will not dial in to view any of the U20 summit sessions this year,” the spokesman stated.
This comes after a coalition of human rights groups wrote a strongly worded letter urging Khan and other mayors to completely boycott the event.
They referred to Saudi as “an absolute monarchy without any form of meaningful democratic representation” thus unfit to host such an event as U20.