US Absence At Paris Summit A Disgrace, Says Kerry

Former US secretary of state John Kerry blasted the absence of the American government at a major climate change summit in Paris Tuesday as a “disgrace”.

About 60 world leaders and hundreds of ministers, company bosses, and environmentalists gathered for the One Planet Summit called by French President Emmanuel Macron after Donald Trump’s decision to abandon the global climate accord.

Trump was not invited and the US federal government was represented by the second-highest diplomat in the American embassy in Paris, Brent Hardt, two years to the day since Kerry and then-president Barack Obama helped lead pain-staking diplomatic efforts to clinch the Paris accord.

“It’s very disappointing, it’s worse than disappointing, it’s actually a disgrace when you consider the facts, the science, the common sense, all the work that’s been done,” Kerry told AFP on the summit sidelines.

The Paris Agreement took “26 years of work that’s being dishonoured by people who don’t even understand the science,” he added.

American summit participants included the campaigning governor of California, Jerry Brown, as well as former New York mayor Michael Bloomberg who has put together a coalition of cities, companies and activists called “America’s Pledge” to help reduce US emissions.

Trump’s announcement that he will withdraw from the global pact, which the United States is the only nation to reject, has cast doubt on the viability of the deal which aims to keep global warming below two degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) over pre-industrial levels.

Asked if the United States could meet its Paris accord pledge to reduce emissions by at least 26 percent by 2025, over 2005 levels, Kerry was upbeat because of efforts at the local level.

“I think it is possible, yes,” he told AFP.

Brown and Bloomberg both took aim at Trump’s climate stance.

“We have a climate denier in the White House who says climate change is a hoax,” Brown told a panel.

“We can’t wait for the White House to wake up. We in America are operating from the grassroots… Our work is incredibly difficult.

“We have mobilised to some extent, but we are not yet on track to reduce the rising greenhouse gases,” he added.

Bloomberg said the 1,700-member coalition of regional governments, cities, companies, and civil society groups that have formed America’s Pledge, represent more than half the US economy.

“If it was a country it would have the world’s third-largest economy and it continues to grow,” he said.

“Together we are going to meet the goal set by this country in Paris by reducing emissions by at least 26 percent and there isn’t anything that Washington can do to stop this,” he added.

“On the contrary, President Trump has helped rally people who understand the problem to join forces and to actually do something rather than wait for the federal government… In that sense we owe President Trump a measure of gratitude for helping us meet our goals,” he quipped.


Kerry To Hold Talks In Ukraine

kerryAs fighting intensifies in Ukraine, the Unites States Secretary of State, John Kerry, is expected to arrive in the country to hold talks with President Petro Poroshenkom, and his Prime Minister, Arseniy Yatseniuk.

A superior source said that Kerry would offer U.S. support for efforts by Ukraine to negotiate a new ceasefire.

The issue of weapon deliveries to Ukraine and other U.S. assistance is expected to be one of the main items on the agenda.

Kerry also intends to provide an additional $16.4 billion in humanitarian aid to help civilians in eastern Ukraine, U.S. officials said.

Earlier, Ashton Carter, the White House’s choice for Defence Secretary, said that he was “inclined” to start supplying arms.

The U.S. has so far only provided “non-lethal” assistance to Ukraine.

Meanwhile, NATO is set to unveil what the bloc’s chief says are “the biggest reinforcement” of its “collective defense since the end of the cold war”.

However, Russia denies accusations by Ukraine and the west that it is arming the rebels in Eastern Ukraine and sending its regular troops across the border.

US,China In Joint Persuasion Of North Korea

[highlight txtcolor=”#oooff”]The international community is still seeking a lasting solution to the ongoing crisis in the Korean peninsula, seeking a diplomatic solution among other things, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry visited China for talks, and he was received by Chinese Premier Li Keqiang who emphasized the common interest between the two countries.[/highlight]

By this, China and the US have vowed to work together to persuade North Korea to give up its nuclear programme and to settle tensions through dialogue.

A Chinese statement issued during a visit by US Secretary of State John Kerry said the nuclear issue was the “shared responsibility of all parties”.

Mr Kerry said the two sides must decide “very quickly” how to proceed.

North Korea has recently threatened nuclear attacks, and is feared to be preparing a missile launch.

Li Keqiang told Kerry during their meeting in Beijing that China and U.S. indeed have huge common interest. Decades of practice after establishment of Sino-U.S. diplomatic relations has proven that our common interest is far more than dispute. In addition, as big countries, China and U.S. have responsibility to maintain the peace and stability of region and the world.

Kerry is also meeting China’s top leaders in an effort to persuade them to exert pressure on North Korea to scale back its belligerent rhetoric and, eventually, return to nuclear talks.

John Kerry believes that china, being the North’s main trading partner, financial backer and the closest thing it has to a diplomatic ally, is able to leverage its relationship and bring North Korea back on track.

“We very much look forward to building on what the president just described to me as the potential of a new model, a model relationship, obviously this is a critical time in the region as well as in the world. We are very grateful to China for its cooperation with us on Iran and on a number of other issues,” Kerry told Li during the meeting.

Kerry met Chinese President Xi Jinping earlier today and is scheduled to also meet State Councilor later.