Obama telephones Modi to clinch climate deal

Washington/New Delhi, Dec 9 (IANS) In a bid to clinch a deal at the ongoing Paris climate conference, President Barack Obama is busy calling up various world leaders, including Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

He called up Modi on Tuesday “to discuss the ongoing Paris climate conference”, according to a White House readout of the call.

“Both leaders emphasised their personal commitment to secure a strong climate change agreement this week and their interest in our countries’ working together to achieve a successful outcome,” it said.

On behalf of the American people, Obama also accepted Modi’s condolences for the loss of life in the San Bernardino shootings last week.

An PMO release in New Delhi on Tuesday said that the two leaders emphasised their commitment to issues related to climate change without impeding progress of developing countries.

“Both leaders underscored their strong commitment to address issues related to climate change being discussed in the Paris conference through constructive engagement, without impeding the progress of developing countries,” the release said.

It said the two leaders agreed to stay in regular touch.

Besides calling Modi on Tuesday, Obama conferred by phone earlier this week with President Dilma Rousseff of Brazil, New York Times cited Secretary of State John Kerry as saying in an interview on the sidelines of UN climate change talks in Paris.

India and Brazil, along with China and the US, are among the world’s top producers of greenhouse gases that warm the planet, noted the Times.

“The role of the four nations in reaching a deal to curb those emissions is crucial to the success of the negotiations.”

In a separate discussion with reporters on Tuesday, Kerry said he had also been working the phones to reach a deal, the Times said.

He said he spoke Tuesday with Prince Mohammad bin Salman Al Saud, the deputy crown prince of Saudi Arabia, a country that is seen as a possible spoiler of a deal.

“He has pledged to help. I think the Saudis want an agreement,” said Kerry, who also spoke Tuesday with top Chinese officials.

The US and China have jointly pledged to cut greenhouse gas emissions, but the US has been pushing for aggressive terms requiring countries to verify their reduced emissions in a step that the Chinese see as intrusive.

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