Protests greet Tillerson in New Zealand over US climate deal exit

Protests greet Tillerson in New Zealand over US climate deal exit
By Euronews

The US Secretary of State was put on the defensive in Wellington over President Trump's decision to pull the US out of the Paris accord.

US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson had a frosty welcome as he made a brief visit to New Zealand, amid the furore over the US withdrawal from the Paris Climate Change agreement.

Despite a traditional Maori greeting befitting a foreign dignitary after he landed in Wellington, locals made rude gestures at his motorcade as it sped straight to the prime minister’s residence.

Tillerson was put on the defensive at a joint news conference when Prime Minister Bill English said many New Zealanders disagreed with US policies.

“On Paris, I think the President again felt that this just simply wasn’t an agreement that served the American people’s interests well. And having said that, as he made that decision I think he made clear that he welcomes (the chance) to talk about a subsequent agreement,” Tillerson said.

An estimated 200 protesters outside Parliament made clear their feelings. An effigy of Donald Trump was pelted with condoms filled with water and placards had messages such as “T-rex go home” and “There is no Planet B”.

Green Party co-leader said the country needed to condemn President Trump’s actions in the strongest terms as New Zealand was at risk of more natural disasters, the “New Zealand Herald reported”:

The US administration has also come under fire for withdrawing from the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade deal – along with the Paris accord, both key to New Zealand and the region.

Addressing concerns that an isolationist US stance threatens security and trade, Tillerson said America remained committed to the region.

“I don’t think anyone should interpret that the US has somehow stepped away from these issues or is seeking to isolate itself,” the Secretary of State said, adding that the US vice-president and defence secretary had already visited the region.

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