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. Asia And Europe Fail To Agree On Climate Change Targets

Chancellor Angela Merkel's hopes to get world leaders to issue a strong resolution on fighting climate change have fizzled out in a row with Washington. The United States also rejects the idea of setting mandatory targets on greenhouse gas emissions, as well as language calling for G8 nations to raise overall energy efficiencies by 20 percent by 2020. Merkel said last week that bringing Asia's emerging giants to the table was vital and she has invited both India and China to take part in discussions in Heiligendamm. Photo courtesy AFP.
by Emsie Ferreira
Hamburg (AFP) Germany, May 29, 2007
China said on Tuesday it will not be tied to targets on cutting carbon emissions as Europe and Asia failed to agree at a 40-nation meeting on how to fight global warming. Beijing wants the developed world to take the lead in cutting emissions, allowing Asia to seek economic growth and fight poverty, Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi said at a press conference to conclude the Europe-Asia meeting (ASEM) of foreign ministers.

"The developed world should do more but China will do its best," he said.

"We believe that in fighting climate change we should have a common goal but differentiated responsibilities," he added, quoting from a declaration adopted at the meeting.

German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier said Europe and Asia had failed to agree on how to fight global warming on an equal footing after 2012 when the Kyoto Protocol which limits greenhouse gas emissions runs out.

"There were disagreements on setting binding targets," Steinmeier said.

However, he said they had agreed that a new protocol on cutting emissions to succeed Kyoto must be agreed by 2009.

Germany had sought to use the ASEM meeting to rally support on climate change and other international issues before it hosts the summit of the Group of Eight most industrialised countries in Heiligendamm next week.

But Chancellor Angela Merkel's hopes to get world leaders to issue a strong resolution on fighting climate change have fizzled out in a row with Washington.

The United States also rejects the idea of setting mandatory targets on greenhouse gas emissions, as well as language calling for G8 nations to raise overall energy efficiencies by 20 percent by 2020.

Merkel said last week that bringing Asia's emerging giants to the table was vital and she has invited both India and China to take part in discussions in Heiligendamm.

India, a new member of ASEM, said on Monday that it will not be tied to emission targets because this would slow economic growth and hinder its efforts to fight poverty.

Foreign ministers from the EU and Asia put up a united front in Hamburg however on Iran's contested nuclear programme and issued a clear call on Myanmar's military rulers to free opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi.

The junta last week said the Nobel peace laureate, who was thrown into detention after her party won elections in Myanmar in 1990, would remain under house arrest for another year.

The ministers called for "the early lifting of restrictions placed on political parties and the early release of those under detention, including Aung San Suu Kyi."

In one of 60 bilateral meetings on the sidelines of ASEM, Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Aso directly confronted his Myanmar counterpart Nyan Win on the issue of Aung San Suu Kyi.

On Iran, the EU and its 18 Asian partners "expressed great concern and disappointment" over the findings of a report issued this month by the UN atomic watchdog warning that Tehran could be three to eight years away from producing nuclear weapons.

The ministers urged Iran to stop uranium enrichment, work with UN inspectors and resume negotiations to settle its standoff with the international community peacefully.

EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana confirmed that he was due to hold talks with Iran's top nuclear negotiator Ali Larijani in Spain on Thursday.

France unveiled an initiative to alleviate the suffering wrought by the four-year-old Darfur conflict.

French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner held talks with counterparts about opening a humanitarian corridor in neighbouring Chad, an idea welcomed by Solana.

But the French initiative was overshadowed by a decision by Washington to impose further sanctions on Sudan in a bid to force the country to allow the deployment of UN troops in Darfur.

Source: Agence France-Presse

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