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Climate summit leaves 'bitter taste': Tuvalu PM
COPENHAGEN, Dec 17 (AFP) Dec 17, 2009
The prime minister of tiny Tuvalu, one of the countries most at risk from rising sea levels, said Thursday he would leave the climate summit with a bitter taste after being sidelined from crunch talks.

"We are not happy with the way these talks are being run," Prime Minister Apisai Ielemia told AFP. "Backroom deals have been worked out by a select few countries. This is not how the UN should work.

"We will leave this meeting with a bitter taste in our mouth. The true victims of climate change have not been heard here."

The low-lying Pacific archipelago, with a total of 11,000 inhabitants, has been pushing for the 194 countries gathered in Copenhagen to commit themselves to ensuring global temperatures rise by no more than 1.5 degrees Celsius (2.7 degrees Fahrenheit).

However the meeting is struggling even to get agreement on a 2 C (3.6 F) limit.

"This meeting is about our future existence," said the prime minister, insisting he would not budge on the 1.5 C (2.7 F) demand.

"We must have a set of safeguards based on sound science... These safeguards are non-negotiable. That is the bottom line for our negotiation here.

"We have faced considerable pressure to accept a deal based on a 2.0 C limit. We will not yield to these pressures. It is non-negotiable. Tuvalu will not change its position."

Asked about his country's future if his demands are not met, Ielemia said: "We have nowhere to run to -- we will just have to live through it when the big cyclone hits. We have no mountains to climb, no high ground."

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