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Maldives denies asking US money for Copenhagen consent

Maldives have rejected accusations that it demanded $50 million from the US in return for giving its consent to the Copenhagen Accord in December 2009.

world Updated: Dec 10, 2010 00:43 IST
Sutirtho Patranobis

Maldives have rejected accusations that it demanded $50 million from the US in return for giving its consent to the Copenhagen Accord in December 2009.

A diplomatic cable disclosed by Wikileaks revealed a meeting of its ambassador Abdul Ghafoor Mohamed with US officials where he referred to "several projects, including harbor deepening and strengthening sea walls, that are in the development stage. These projects would cost approximately $50 million. Deputy Special Envoy for Climate Change Jonathan Pershing encouraged Ghafoor to provide concrete examples and specific costs in order to increase the likelihood of bilateral assistance and congressional appropriations." The meeting was held after the accord was signed.

The Maldives foreign ministry, in a statement, denied the charge, adding that Maldives pledged its support to the Copenhagen Accord unilaterally and without reservations on December 19, 2009.

It also released a letter sent by Maldives foreign minister Ahmed Shaheed to US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton on December 30, 2009. In the letter, Shaheed told Clinton that Maldives was eager to activate the Copenhagen Accord in order to get assistance from the US$30 billion fund promised in it.

The statement added, "In fact the Maldives was actively lobbying other parties, including the US, to associate with the accord. Not the other way around."

Maldives have been in the forefront of climate change negotiations as many of its islands face severe erosion.

In the context of the current negotiations in Cancun, Shaheed said in the statement that Maldives would be "happy to accept any level of international transparency in monitoring, reporting and verifying this target, and to enter its commitment into a legally-binding climate treaty text."

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