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France wants "G28" to guide climate change talks
PARIS (Reuters) - French President Nicolas Sarkozy on Friday proposed setting up a group of 28 countries to guide global negotiations on climate change and avoid a repetition of last year's chaotic talks in Copenhagen.
In a New Year address to the diplomatic community, Sarkozy said United Nations climate negotiations in Copenhagen in December had failed because of the huge number of countries involved in preparing the accord.
"The main lesson from Copenhagen is that you can't negotiate in a round of 192," Sarkozy said, arguing that national leaders had arrived in the Danish capital to sign the accord only to find an illegible text full of disputed clauses.
He proposed forming a "balanced, representative" group of 28 countries that would provide ideas and prepare for the next round of negotiations in Cancun. He did not name any of the proposed participants.
"The wisest option would be to pursue a twin strategy -- talks among the 192, as that involves the whole international community, and among ministers and sherpas from the Group of 28," he said.
Sarkozy said he wanted the Group of 28 to hold monthly meetings, starting in March, in New York or Bonn.
Last month's Copenhagen talks ended with a bare-minimum agreement when delegates "noted" a deal struck by the United States, China and other emerging powers that fell short of the conference's original goals.
Mexico will host the next talks in Cancun in November/December, building on the Copenhagen deal which seeks to limit the rise in temperature to 2 Celsius above the average recorded in pre-industrial times. The Copenhagen accord did not spell out how to achieve that goal.
(Reporting by Sophie Hardach, editing by Tim Pearce)
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