Cloud makes way for ray of hope

Cloud makes way for ray of hope

Cloud makes way for ray of hope

THE DISSIDENTS: Demonstrators shout outside the Bella Center as they protest against the draft text on climate change produced by negotiators at the Copenhagen Climate Change Conference, on Saturday. REUTERS

It was high drama at the venue of climate talks here on Friday night with US President Barack Obama making a surprise entry into a room where Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and leaders from China, Brazil and South Africa were in a huddle discussing strategy on negotiations.

This meeting proved to be the clincher for finding common ground on the extended climate change talks.Obama was apparently hoping to meet Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao alone and after that hold separate meetings with Singh, Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva and South African President Jacob Zuma.

But, the four leaders wanted to meet him together, an official privy to negotiations said.Obama and his team appeared to be taken aback but went ahead to meet them together.

“Can I join you now? Are you ready to talk to me or do you need more time? I can go back and come again,” said Obama to the four leaders as he walked into the room with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and aides.

Intense discussion
He was told by leaders that he was welcome to join them. What followed was an intense discussion between Obama and the leaders of the four emerging economies with the result being finalisation of a broad agreement on which they could work.
Apprehending that the Copenhagen Summit has almost headed towards a dead end, Obama postponed his scheduled departure for the US and told his advance team that he wanted to meet the Chinese premier separately.

When they called Brazil, the White House was told by the side that it would hold no meeting without India. Zuma agreed for the meeting as he did not have the latest information about Singh.

Later, the four leaders were again at the Bella Center discussing their strategy for their meeting with Obama. Singh, who was at his hotel, had driven to the venue. Singh did some plain talking telling Obama that international review of voluntary mitigation actions was unacceptable.

Wen also had similar views, while Lula voiced concerns over imposition of trade barriers on developing countries under the garb of environment protection.
Obama told them that the US recognised the development challenges of the BASIC countries and wanted to be a partner and not an impediment in their progress.
The BASIC group stuck to their stand on review of voluntary mitigation actions, which they said will be an intrusion on their sovereignty.

After some rounds of talk the leaders agreed on having ‘international consultations’ on the line of WTO talks as the accepted phrase.There was no agreement on a proposal to accept 50 per cent emission cuts across the board and the leaders decided to leave it at that. The leaders also left it to their negotiating teams to reach a final agreement.

The deal when presented at the plenary drew angry reactions but the Conference decided to ‘take note’ of it, stopping short of adopting it for lack of consensus.

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