India, China PM's meet, express concern over umbrella clause

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Copenhagen (Denmark), Dec. 18 (ANI): Prime Ministers of India and China - Dr. Manmohan Singh and Wen Jiabao-met early this morning in the Directors Room of the Radisson Blu Hotel here.

Sources privy to the half-an-hour long meeting said that both leaders broadly discussed the progress of their bilateral ties and how best to take it forward. Premier Wen Jiabao recalled his last meeting with Dr. Singh in Thailand, and remarked in an opening statement that there was need to take strategic ties to a higher level.

Dr. Singh concurred and said that both countries needed to meet more often and exchange views on bilateral, regional and multilateral issues of mutual interest.

Sources told Indian media attending the last day of the 11-day Conference of Parties (COP-15) meeting here that both India and China discussed the deliberations that have taken place so far, and expressed concern and reservation about the inclusion of an "umbrella paragraph" by developed countries, details of which are still unclear.

When the sources contacted were asked what those reservations were, they said they were also not clear on the issue, but said a statement could be expected after the Heads of State Plenary.

Sources revealed that Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao or the Prime Minister's Special Envoy on Climate Change Shyam Saran would be briefing the media between 1.30 p.m. and 2 p.m. Copenhagen time on the meeting with the Chinese Premier, as also on the plenary deliberations.

The Prime Minister is likely to make an intervention during the plenary, during which he will emphasize the need for all countries to take individual and collective responsibility for arresting climate change. He is expected to pitch for support on issues where there is a consensus, and also convince all participants of the urgent need to work more effectively and efficiently on areas where a consensus is yet to be reached.

The statements coming out of the India and China camps suggest that the climate negotiation process is going to be taken forward into 2010, as there is stand-off on the Kyoto Protocol, as also a reluctance on the part of developed countries to go through with their promised objectives under the UNFCCC and the Bali Action Plan. By Ashok Dixit (ANI)

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