World

Trump seeks major change in climate deal

US president willing to return to Paris accord but only if it favours the US

LONDON President Donald Trump would be willing to sign the US back up to the Paris climate accord, but only if the treaty undergoes major change, he said in comments published yesterday.

Mr Trump was met with global condemnation when he announced in June 2017 that the US was pulling out of the Paris climate agreement, painting it as a "bad deal" for the US economy.

While the president remains firm in his criticism of the historic accord, which was signed by his predecessor Barack Obama, he said he would be willing to sign up to a revamped deal.

"The Paris accord, for us, would have been a disaster," he told Britain's ITV channel in an interview to be aired late Sunday.

"If they made a good deal... there's always a chance we'd get back," Mr Trump added, calling the current agreement "terrible" and "unfair" to the US.

The landmark treaty was agreed by 197 nations in 2015 after intense negotiations in Paris, where all countries made voluntary carbon-cutting pledges running to 2030.

"If somebody said, go back into the Paris accord, it would have to be a completely different deal because we had a horrible deal," Mr Trump said, according to extracts of the interview.

"Would I go back in? Yeah, I'd go back in... I would love to."

In the interview, Mr Trump said the European Union was "not cracked up to what it's supposed to be" and claimed he had predicted the result of the June 2016 referendum in which Britons voted to leave the EU. Mr Trump was elected to the US presidency later the same year.

When asked if British Prime Minister Theresa May was in a "good position" regarding the ongoing Brexit talks, Mr Trump replied: "Would it be the way I negotiate? No, I wouldn't negotiate it the way it's negotiated... I would have had a different attitude."

Pressed on how his approach would be different, he said: "I would have said the European Union is not cracked up to what it's supposed to be. I would have taken a tougher stand in getting out."

Mr Trump also said in the interview that he had anticipated the Brexit referendum result because of many Britons' concerns over immigration.

"I said because of trade, but mostly immigration, Brexit is going to be a big upset. And I was right," he said. "I know the British people and understand them.

"They don't want people coming from all over the world into Britain, they don't know anything about these people."

Mr Trump also said he had been invited by Mrs May to make two visits to Britain this year. Earlier this month, he cancelled a trip to London to open a new embassy, saying he did not want to endorse a bad deal agreed by the Obama administration to sell the old one for "peanuts".

Some Britons are angry at the prospect of a visit by Mr Trump, with large protests expected when he does arrive.

- AFP, REUTERS