World

White House: US staying out of Paris Accord

MONTREAL: The White House has pushed back at a European suggestion it was softening its stance on the Paris climate accord, insisting Washington will withdraw from the agreement unless it can re-enter on more favourable terms.

The remark came as environment ministers from some 30 countries gathered in Montreal seeking headway on the Paris climate accord, which US President Donald Trump had pulled out of in June.

At the summit, which was attended by a US observer, the US "stated that they will not renegotiate the Paris Accord, but they (will) try to review the terms on which they could be engaged under this agreement," the European Union's top climate official Miguel Arias Canete said.

Mr Canete said there would be a meeting on the sidelines of next week's UN General Assembly with American representatives "to assess what is the real US position", noting "it's a message which is quite different to the one we heard from President Trump in the past".

The US observer was not immediately available for comment and the White House insisted the US would withdraw from the accord without more favourable terms.

"There has been no change in the United States' position on the Paris agreement," White House spokesman Sarah Huckabee Sanders said.

"As the president has made abundantly clear, the United States is withdrawing unless we can re-enter on terms that are more favourable to our country."

Called by Canada, China and the European Union, the summit took place 30 years to the day after the signing of the Montreal Protocol on protecting the ozone layer.

Canada's environment minister Catherine McKenna hailed the protocol as a multilateral "success story" of governments, NGOs and ordinary citizens jointly tackling a major global threat.

"Changes are real, extreme weather events are more frequent, more powerful and more distressful," she told the gathering. - REUTERS

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