French president pokes at Trump for leaving Paris accord

President Macron (AFP)
Updated 11 March 2018
0

French president pokes at Trump for leaving Paris accord

NEW DELHI: French President Emmanuel Macron took a jibe Sunday at President Donald Trump for withdrawing from the Paris climate agreement.
Macron did not name Trump while speaking at the first meeting of the International Solar Alliance in New Delhi. But while hailing the “solar mamas,” a group of women trained as solar engineers, he said the women had continued their mission to promote solar energy even after “some countries decided just to leave the floor and leave the Paris agreement.”
Trump announced last June that the US was withdrawing from the Paris accord, which aims to slow the rise in global temperature by reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
Heads and ministers of dozens of countries are participating in the daylong solar meeting, co-hosted by India and France.
The Alliance is a treaty-based international body for the promotion of efficient exploitation of solar energy to reduce dependence on fossil fuels. It was launched by India and France on the sidelines of the 2015 Paris Climate Conference.
“Today is a big change,” Macron told the meeting. “Our solar mamas, who we just listened to, didn’t wait for us. They started to act and to deliver concrete results. They didn’t wait and they didn’t stop because some countries decided just to leave the floor and leave the Paris agreement.”
“Because they decided it was good for them, for their children, their grandchildren. They decided to act and keep acting, and that’s why we are here, in order to act very concretely,” Macron said.
India and France called for affordable solar technology and concessional finance for promoting solar energy.
The meeting will discuss framing regulations and standards, credit mechanisms, crowd funding and sharing of technological breakthroughs to promote solar energy in 121 countries associated with the Alliance. The member countries are fully or partially between the Tropics of Cancer and Capricorn.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi called for a unified effort for promoting solar energy and said the Alliance would help to achieve greater global energy security.
“Promoting its development and use can bring prosperity for all and can help reduce the carbon footprint on Earth,” Modi told the conference. “If we want the welfare of planet Earth and of the whole humanity, I am confident that we can come out of our personal confines and like a family, bring unity in our aims and efforts (to promote solar energy).”


Pakistan and China push for peace in Afghanistan

Updated 15 December 2018
0

Pakistan and China push for peace in Afghanistan

  • Trilateral talks also focused on boosting trust and security between the three countries
  • FM Qureshi extends the olive branch for a new chapter with Kabul

KABUL: Foreign Ministers of Afghanistan, Pakistan, and China held a trilateral meeting in Kabul on Saturday where they discussed measures to boost political trust and join hands for a regional war against militancy which would facilitate the Afghan peace process, even as Taliban insurgents stepped up their attacks.

The meeting was the second one to take place after Beijing had initiated the talks in December last year in order to ease the rising tension between Kabul and Islamabad whose relationship is highly critical for Beijing’s growing economic and political clout in Pakistan and Afghanistan.

In recent years, China has deepened its economic and political ties with Afghanistan and is actively using its influence to bring the two South Asian neighbors closer.

Pakistan has long been accused by Afghanistan and the US of providing safe havens for Afghan Taliban leaders, by funding and arming them since their ouster in late 2001.

Islamabad has denied the allegations.

After the meeting on Saturday, Pakistan’s Foreign Minister, Shah Mahmood Qureshi pushed for a new chapter with Afghanistan, adding that the ongoing blame game would not help in achieving peace or building trust between Islamabad and Kabul.

He said that the Daesh and militants from Central Asia and eastern China were against the peace process in Afghanistan, urging for joint efforts to tackle the extremism.

“I am here to engage with Afghanistan. Let us not stick to the past and stop pointing a finger on Pakistan… I came here to build trust and bridges and reach peace and stability. Any improvement in Afghanistan will benefit Pakistan,” Qureshi told a news conference.

The three countries signed an agreement pushing for joint efforts in the war against militancy with Afghanistan’s Foreign Minister, Salahuddin Rabbani, saying that the coming weeks and months will be highly crucial in evaluating Pakistan’s intentions and its role in supporting an Afghan-led and Afghan-owned peace process.

Officials from both Afghanistan and Pakistan have held a number of meetings in recent years to mend bilateral ties and work towards measures to fight militancy. However, those talks were an exercise in futility as they were followed by the two countries trading accusations and resorting to the blame game. Rabbani said that “the time has come (for Pakistan) to practically show with genuine steps” that it will fulfill its pledges.

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi described both Afghanistan and Pakistan as its strategic partners, adding that China had great political trust in the two. He asked both the countries to resolve their problems in a peaceful manner and backed the US’ efforts to engage in peace talks with the Taliban, urging the militant group to get involved in the process. 

“We support Afghanistan and Pakistan’s efforts for peace and we call on the Taliban to join the peace process. Cooperation between Afghanistan, Pakistan, and China is important to bring peace to Afghanistan.” 

The three sides emphasized the importance of regional connectivity and economic development between them. 

Saturday’s meeting took place at a time when Washington is stepping up its efforts to hold talks with the Taliban by meeting with regional powers on how to end the US war in Afghanistan which began more than 17 years ago.

Mohammad Nateqi, a former Afghan diplomat, said that a deciding factor for Saturday’s agreement to work depended on building mutual trust between Pakistan and Afghanistan given the fact that similar conversations have taken place between Kabul and Islamabad earlier as well, without bearing any fruit.

However, at the same time, he was optimistic about positive results, reasoning that the situation had changed when compared to the past with the US increasing its efforts for talks with the Taliban.

“Such meetings can be helpful in mending ties between the countries and in helping them come closer to achieving a peace plan,” he told Arab News.