WASHINGTON, Dec 4, (AFP) - US President Barack Obama Friday delivered a boost to UN climate talks in Copenhagen, agreeing to delay his visit until the end of the meeting, when the drive for a global warming pact will climax.
Obama had been due to fly into the talks on Wednesday, and then head on to Oslo to receive his Nobel peace prize, but progress before the summit and talks with fellow world leaders seem to have convinced him to change his plans.
“The president believes that continued US leadership can be most productive through his participation at the end of the Copenhagen conference on December 18 rather than on December 9,” White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said.
“There are still outstanding issues that must be negotiated for an agreement to be reached, but this decision reflects the president's commitment to doing all that he can to pursue a positive outcome,” Gibbs said.
Obama had been heavily criticized for saying he would only go into Copenhagen at the start of the talks, especially in the European media, and even by French President Nicolas Sarkozy.
The White House also said Friday that the United States was ready to pay a “fair share” of 10 billion dollars a year in climate aid to developing countries as part of a deal at the upcoming summit.