African countries backed by other developing nations briefly suspended their participation in the Copenhagen climate conference as talks enter their final week.
They accused developed countries of trying to “kill” the Kyoto agreement, the only legally binding text on emissions cuts that exists.
They want the terms of Kyoto, which forces rich nations to cut emissions until 2012, to run their course and not be merged into a new accord.
Sudan’s negotiator, Lumumba Stanislaus Di-Aping, summed up the African position, saying:
“We shall not participate in any negotiations until the issues of the Kyoto Protocol are discussed…that was one issue. The second issue is who draws up the outcome…We do not want the conference to adopt or present a draft that is not drafted by the parties to the convention. The third issue centres around the process, the transparency and the democratic right of equal participation of all member states who are parties to this convention.”
The European Union and other western powers have been pushing for a new deal to replace Kyoto. Negotiations have now resumed with the African delegations but diplomats admit there is still a long road ahead.
It is hoped the presence this week of environment ministers and prominent climate campaigners such as Al Gore will add some urgency to the talks ahead of the arrival of heads of state on Thursday.