World lead­ers to step up ef­forts to fight IS

G20 backs drive for Paris cli­mate deal

Kuwait Times - - INTERNATIONAL -

AN­TALYA, Tur­key: World lead­ers yes­ter­day com­mit­ted to join forces to bring peace to Syria and de­stroy the Is­lamic State ji­hadist net­work, hop­ing to curb the ex­trem­ist men­ace af­ter the Paris at­tacks. Lead­ers of the Group of 20 top economies meet­ing in Tur­key de­scribed the Paris gun and bomb­ing as­saults as an “un­ac­cept­able af­front to all hu­man­ity”, ac­cord­ing to a rare sep­a­rate state­ment ac­com­pa­ny­ing the fi­nal com­mu­nique af­ter their an­nual sum­mit.

Con­cretely, they will share in­tel­li­gence to crack down on the move­ment of for­eign fight­ers across bor­ders, the state­ment said. They also urged “all states” to come to share the bur­den of refugees, with hun­dreds of thou­sands pour­ing out of war-torn Syria to take the of­ten dan­ger­ous path to Europe. Western lead­ers sought in par­tic­u­lar to nar­row im­por­tant dif­fer­ences with Rus­sian Pres­i­dent Vladimir Putin on re­solv­ing the con­flict in Syria and fight­ing the Is­lamic State group.

G20 lead­ers showed “our res­o­lute stance in the fight against ter­ror­ism,” said host Turk­ish Pres­i­dent Re­cip Tayyip Er­do­gan at a news con­fer­ence wrap­ping up the sum­mit. The ur­gent need to co­or­di­nate ac­tion on Syria af­ter the Paris at­tacks that killed 129 peo­ple dom­i­nated the sum­mit’s agenda, but lead­ers also pressed ahead with a drive to stave off cat­a­strophic cli­mate change.

‘Still a Big Gap’

Bri­tish Prime Min­is­ter David Cameron said the split be­tween the West and Rus­sia on Syria nar­rowed dur­ing talks in Vi­enna this week­end but more work needed to be done to unify po­si­tions. “There is still a very big gap but I think there is still some hope that this process could move faster in the fu­ture than it has in the past,” he said af­ter a bi­lat­eral meet­ing with Putin. But he lamented how the “body count had piled up in Syria” over the course of sev­eral in­ter­na­tional sum­mit meet­ings since the start of the war. “The faster we can de­grade and de­stroy (IS) the safer we will be,” he said.

Rus­sia has re­fused to aban­don its sup­port for Syr­ian Pres­i­dent Bashar Al-As­sad in the four-year civil war, which has claimed more than a quar­ter of a mil­lion lives and dis­placed mil­lions. Moscow re­cently stepped up its in­volve­ment in Syria with a bomb­ing cam­paign of its own that has been wel­comed by the regime but

greeted with sus­pi­cion in the West.

Cof­fee Ta­ble Sum­mit

US Pres­i­dent Barack Obama on Sun­day held one of his most in­ti­mate dis­cus­sions yet with Putin, both men seen hunched over a cof­fee ta­ble in an­i­mated, im­promptu talks on the side­lines of the sum­mit. US of­fi­cials said the two lead­ers agreed on the need for a po­lit­i­cal tran­si­tion for Syria that would be set up by a cease­fire and UN-bro­kered talks. The Krem­lin said the two sides shared the same goal of fight­ing Is­lamic State but dif­fered on tac­tics.

The stepped-up diplo­macy came af­ter world pow­ers agreed in the Vi­enna talks at the week­end on an out­line for po­lit­i­cal tran­si­tion for Syria, but cru­cially not on what should hap­pen to As­sad. Er­do­gan on Mon­day re­it­er­ated his tough stance against As­sad “who mas­sa­cred his own peo­ple”, say­ing the Syr­ian leader had “no place” in the coun­try’s fu­ture. In the spe­cial state­ment at the end of the G20 gath­er­ing, world lead­ers raised the alarm over an “acute and grow­ing flow of for­eign ter­ror­ist fight­ers”. They vowed to share in­tel­li­gence, track border cross­ings and boost avi­a­tion se­cu­rity to halt the move­ment of ji­hadist fight­ers.

Ger­man Chan­cel­lor An­gela Merkel called for “in­ten­sive co­op­er­a­tion” be­tween in­tel­li­gence agen­cies as well as the mil­i­tary in the fight against terror. Bri­tain is to host a ma­jor donor con­fer­ence in Lon­don in Feb 2016 to rally aid for Syr­ian refugees, she added in com­ments con­firmed by Cameron. De­spite the heavy shadow cast by the at­tacks in Paris, world lead­ers pressed on with their orig­i­nal agenda, pledg­ing in a draft to agree legally-bind­ing goals on cli­mate change at a con­fer­ence in Paris later this month but making no men­tion of whether they will help de­vel­op­ing coun­tries meet the tar­gets.

Ne­go­tia­tors hag­gled into the early hours as Saudi Ara­bia and In­dia ini­tially re­fused to in­clude spe­cific goals such as lim­it­ing global warm­ing to less than two de­grees Cel­sius above pre-in­dus­tri­alised lev­els, sources said. France, backed by the Euro­pean Union, is work­ing fu­ri­ously to make the cli­mate talks a suc­cess and Paris of­fi­cials bris­tled at the re­luc­tance of some coun­tries to in­clude its ba­sic ob­jec­tives in the state­ment.

“Cli­mate change is one of the great­est chal­lenges of our time,” said the com­mu­nique mark­ing the end of the sum­mit in An­talya. “We reaf­firm the be­low 2C de­gree cli­mate goal,” it said, un­der­lin­ing a “de­ter­mi­na­tion” to adopt a deal with le­gal force. The block­buster cli­mate meet­ing will as­sem­ble 195 coun­tries out­side Paris from Nov 30 to Dec 11 in a bid to reach a post-2020 pact to try to stem global warm­ing. The 2C goal has guided the long-run­ning talks - held un­der the aus­pices of the UN Frame­work Con­ven­tion on Cli­mate Change - since 2009.

‘Ele­phant in the Room’

France is ea­ger to avoid the fate of the Copen­hagen talks in 2009 that also sought to craft a world cli­mate res­cue pact, but ended in near-fi­asco amid splits be­tween rich and emerg­ing coun­tries. “At a cer­tain point there was a feel­ing that we were not liv­ing on the same planet,” an ex­hausted Euro­pean ne­go­tia­tor told re­porters af­ter more than 20 hours of talks with his G20 coun­ter­parts. “The idea was to just state that the G20 coun­tries will be com­mit­ted to a reg­u­lar process, to get to the num­bers of the tar­get, with reg­u­lar steps, that was the idea. This is com­mon sense,” he said.

Activists said the state­ment still of­fered noth­ing new and crit­i­cised a wor­ry­ing lack of lead­er­ship just two weeks ahead of the Paris talks. “They have done noth­ing to bring the 20 most pow­er­ful coun­tries in the world closer to con­sen­sus,” said John Kir­ton, codi­rec­tor of the G20 Re­search Group at the Univer­sity of Toronto. Ob­servers de­nounced the fail­ure of the G20 lead­ers to of­fer de­tails on fi­nanc­ing for de­vel­op­ing coun­tries to make the tran­si­tion to clean en­ergy.

De­vel­op­ing na­tions are look­ing to rich coun­tries to show how they in­tend to meet a prom­ise made in 2009 to mo­bilise $100 bil­lion per year in cli­mate fi­nance from 2020. The funds will help poorer economies make the shift from cheap and abun­dant fos­sil fu­els to re­new­able en­ergy sources, and shore up na­tional de­fences against cli­mate change-in­duced su­per­storms, drought, floods and sea-level rise. France in­sists this will be key to get­ting an agree­ment in De­cem­ber. It is “dif­fi­cult” to see suc­cess in Paris “with­out cli­mate fi­nance on the ta­ble,” said Tris­tram Sains­bury, an­a­lyst at Lowy In­sti­tute in Sydney. “That is the big ele­phant in the room for the G20,” he said. The G20 sum­mit next year moves to China, fol­lowed by Ger­many in 2017. —Agen­cies


AN­TALYA, Tur­key: A fam­ily photo, signed by the lead­ers, is dis­played at the Group of 20 (G20) sum­mit yes­ter­day.

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