Britain to host pre-Copenhagen climate talks

LONDON Mon Sep 28, 2009 10:36pm IST

LONDON (Reuters) - Britain said on Monday it would host a meeting of major economies next month ahead of talks to reach a new U.N deal to fight climate change.

The United States had asked Britain to hold the meeting of the 17-member Major Economies Forum (MEF) it set up earlier this year to provide an informal forum to discuss climate issues in London on October 18 and 19.

The discussions come less than two months before about 190 nations gather for talks in Copenhagen in December to forge a successor to the emissions-capping pact known as the Kyoto Protocol.

"MEF will cover most of the climate issues discussed in the official UNFCCC (UN Framework Convention on Climate Change) talks ahead of Copenhagen but is not an official part of the negotiations," Britain's Department of Energy and Climate Change said in a statement.

"However, it will provide valuable contribution toward Copenhagen if developed and developing countries can reach a shared understanding and build consensus on some general principles.

"Real commitment from all countries is needed to secure a breakthrough deal."

Delegates are currently meeting in Thailand for two weeks of talks to try to settle on the outline of a tougher pact to replace the Kyoto Protocol.

A spokeswoman for the department said the MEF was likely to meet again following the London talks and a further meeting on the eve of the Copenhagen talks was also likely.

(Reporting by Michael Holden; editing by James Jukwey)

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