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Over 85 Leaders To Attend Climate Talks

Date: 30-Nov-09
Country: PORT OF SPAIN
Author: Pascal Fletcher

PORT OF SPAIN - U.N. climate talks in Copenhagen next month can be a turning point in the world's fight against global warming, Denmark's prime minister said on Friday, adding that more than 85 heads of state and government had already said they would attend.

Addressing a summit of Commonwealth leaders in Trinidad and Tobago, Lars Lokke Rasmussen urged major developed countries to deliver firm commitments on cutting greenhouse gas emissions and to "put figures on the table" for "up-front" financing to help poorer nations tackle the threat of climate change.

He said Denmark had received an "overwhelmingly positive" response to its invitation to world leaders to attend the December 7-18 discussions in the Danish capital.

"More than 85 heads of state and government have told us they are coming to Copenhagen, and many are still positively considering," Rasmussen told the Commonwealth meeting, speaking as an invited guest.

The 53-nation Commonwealth group, which represents more than a quarter of the world's population, launched a diplomatic push on Friday to drum up momentum for a comprehensive climate deal in Copenhagen in 10 days' time.

"Copenhagen is capable of delivering the turning point we all want. We know the problem. We know the solutions. We know what we need to do. From here on it's a matter of political will," Rasmussen said.

"A strong deal -- sealed at the leaders level -- will serve as a clear and detailed guidance for negotiators to quickly finalize a legal framework. The stronger the deal, the faster we reach our end goal," he added.

Most nations have given up hopes of agreeing to a final legal treaty text in Copenhagen, but prospects for achieving a broad political pact have been brightened this week by public promises of greenhouse gas curbs by China and the United States, the world's biggest emitters.

(Editing by Mohammad Zargham)

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