Japan to hold climate, Africa summits at G8: minister

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TOKYO: Japan said Tuesday it will hold parallel summits on climate change and African development on the sidelines of the Group of Eight gathering of major rich nations in July.

Tokyo has invited heads of state and government from 15 nations for meetings involving the G8 members during the July 7-9 gathering in the northern mountain resort of Toyako, Foreign Minister Masahiko Komura said.

For the July 7 parallel summit on Africa, Japan has invited Algeria, Egypt, Ethiopia, Ghana, Nigeria, Senegal, South Africa, Tanzania and the chairman of the African Union, Komura told reporters.

For the climate change meeting on July 9, Australia, Brazil, China, India, Indonesia, Mexico, South Korea and South Africa have been invited, he said.

Japan hopes to use the climate change meeting to push ahead negotiations aimed at drafting a successor to the Kyoto Protocol by the end of next year.

The parallel summit would be in line with a US initiative aimed at showing leadership on the climate issue that brings together negotiators from 16 major emitting nations.

The United States is the only major industrial nation to reject the Kyoto treaty, which President George W. Bush argues is unfair as it makes no demands of emerging economies such as China and India.

Some developing nations have been skeptical about climate meetings outside the UN framework that drafted Kyoto, fearing being lumped together with rich nations as major emitters when their pollution is less per capita.

Japan played host to a 20-nation climate meeting in suburban Tokyo on Saturday and Sunday, which showed a continued rift between industrial and developing nations.

Jos Delbeke, the EU s deputy director general for the environment, on Tuesday renewed the Europeans call for clear numerical targets in cutting emissions after Kyoto s obligations expire in 2012.

The Europeans would see the July summit as a success if a long-term ambitious target could be spelled out for 2050, Delbeke said, as quoted by Kyodo News.

Japan has championed the Kyoto Protocol but is far behind in meeting its own commitments as its economy wakes up from a long slumber. -AFP

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