Ethiopia Ruling Party Official Says May Election Will be Credible
Ethiopia Ruling Party Official Says May Election Will be Credible

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Africa's climate summit negotiators say they are discouraged by the outlook for next month's Copenhagen talks, but will insist on a political deal that meets their demands. Members of Africa's negotiating team met to finalize a continental strategy for the talks.

Their hopes for a legally-binding climate treaty in Copenhagen have been dashed, but Africa's climate-summit negotiators remain undaunted.  The lead negotiator, Ethiopian Prime Minister Meles Zenawi, says the same goals could be achieved by a political deal that leads to a treaty in the near future.

"While Africa's preference continues to be to come up with a full fledged treaty agreed in Copenhagen, nevertheless Africa may be prepared to engage the international community with a view to coming up with a binding political agreement that addresses all the key issues ... and that is followed as soon as possible with negotiations on such a treaty," he said.

Diplomats say a legally-binding treaty could be signed at a followup meeting next year in Mexico City.

Prime Minister Meles's comments came during a meeting of the committee of 10 heads of state named to present a unified voice for Africa in Copenhagen.  Two of the others, Kenyan President Mwai Kibaki and Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni, were also present, along with African Union Commission Chairman Jean Ping. The other seven were represented by ambassadors.

Mr. Meles says Africa's summit demands will focus on lowering emissions and compensating African countries for damages caused by climate change.

"First we need to make sure global warming does not go beyond the unavoidable two degrees, and that carbon emissions peak by, at the latest 2020," he said.  "The second key point is adaptation, compensation for the damage caused by the developed countries to the prospects of growth in Africa and other poor countries.  Here again we have identified a number of key points with regard to institutional mechanism for delivery of this money.  With regards to the quantity of the money and the quality of the money."

The Ethiopian leader declined to say how much compensation Africa would demand, but said the negotiators had agreed on a minimum bargaining position.

"There are many calculations made, including the 100 billion per annum dollar mark as of 2020 that has been set by many calculators, experts," he said.  "We will look at all possibilities, we will be very flexible on the figures, but we have set a minimum beyond which we will not go.  And I am sure you will understand I would not be in a position to tell you what that figure is."

Whatever slim hopes there had been for an early climate deal vanished Sunday when world leaders attending an Asia-Pacific summit agreed to extend the negotiating process.  Talks leading up to the summit had been stalled by disagreements between developed and emerging economies on binding emissions targets.