UPDATE 1-G7 to focus on rebuilding world economy, UK PM Johnson says

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LONDON, Feb 19 (Reuters) - British Prime Minister BorisJohnson opened the Group of Seven virtual leaders meeting onFriday by calling for a plan to rebuild the global economy afterthe ravages of the COVID-19 pandemic.

On a video call with fellow leaders, Johnson said it wasgreat to have new faces such as U.S. President Joe Biden andItaly's new prime minister, Mario Draghi. During theintroductions he had to ask German Chancellor Angela Merkel tomute while he was speaking.

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

"The G7 is the great gathering of like-minded liberalfree-trading democracies, it's a very very important forum, westand together on many issues around the world, whether its ourviews on the coup in Myanmar... or on the detention of AlexeiNavalny in Moscow."

(Reporting by Guy Faulconbridge and William James; editing byAlistair Smout)