Saturday, 12 December 2009

Papua New Guinea breaks ranks with AOSIS and supports Brazil

Papua New Guinea, one of the members of the Association of Small Island States (AOSIS) has broken ranks with the group and supported Brazil’s position. This decision has not gone down well with some Pacific AOSIS members.

Solomon Islands head of delegation, Rence Sore said he was shocked by PNG’s position, which was relayed to the Conference of the Parties plenary session on Saturday.

“It is disappointing to hear statements from PNG during the plenary. It disunites the Pacific Islands and their priorities here at Copenhagen.

“We would have appreciated if PNG came openly to AOSIS meetings and conveyed their disagreement to the submission, said Mr Sore.

“If they had any bilateral disagreements with another country, it is best done dealt with bilaterally and not taken to the main plenary session, affecting the good intentions of AOSIS.

Papua New Guinea’s lead negotiator, Kevin Conrad, dropped the bombshell while speaking on the proposals by parties under Article 17 of the Convention at COP plenary session.

“We wish to associate ourselves with Brazil. However, we are seeking a legally binding agreement as soon as practicable.

“Some delegations have held out an AOSIS position. We do not support AOSIS. We believe there is draft non paper that should provide the basis of some discussion here, said Mr Conrad.

Jotham Napat, head of Vanuatu delegation said they are here to sign a deal and complete these negotiations in support of AOSIS.

“ Vanuatu is a member of AOSIS and we stand by the proposal made by AOSIS. We would like all the parties, particularly the developed countries to accept our proposal and endorse a legally binding agreement.” Mr Napat said.

Despite opposition from other countries as to the AOSIS proposal on the table, Cook Islands remains optimistic.

“We have to remain optimistic, once you start giving in, people start giving up their positions, said Myra Moekaa.

She said there appears to be some change of heart, especially in the big groups like the G77 and China.

“We can’t just hold on to our positions, we have to give up some of what we want in order to get something and vice versa. Other countries will also have to do the same.

“If we hold on to our positions too much, we aren’t going to get anything at all, said Ms Moekaa.

Cook Islands is keen to see an agreement to ensure ‘our survival.’

For the Federated States of Micronesia, the AOSIS position embodies the aspirations of its people.

“We support the AOSIS text. The critical part in the text for us is the numbers - 1.5 degrees ceiling of global warming, 350 ppm and the issue on financing.

“It’s a fight that we will continue because we are speaking from the perspective of reality, said Jackson Soram of FSM.

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