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Germany & US to cooperate on climate change

Germany and the United States agree to cooperate on climate change

During their meeting in Mainz on February 23 President George W. Bush and Chancellor Gerhard Schröder agreed to pursue a program of joint actions on cleaner and more efficient energy and climate change. They also discussed a range of international issues in continuation of the meeting they held in Brussels the previous day.

Despite differing assessments of the two governments regarding the effects of the Kyoto Protocol, which went into effect on February 16 without US support, Germany and the United States agreed to cooperate more closely in undertaking practical efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Speaking at a joint press conference after his meeting with President Bush, Schröder referred to this as a very significant step forward.

The energy sectors of the two countries are to be modernized and the use of environmentally friendly technologies promoted. Germany and the United States want to work internationally for the prevention of climate change, among other things in partnership with the G8 countries under the Action Plan for Science and Technology for Sustainable Development.

Independent of this, the German government continues to view the Kyoto Protocol as the central framework for international efforts aimed at preventing climate change.

Chancellor Schröder and Foreign Minister Fischer met President Bush at the US military airbase in Frankfurt, accompanying him from there to Mainz for a red-carpet, honor-guard reception at the Elector's Castle, followed by political talks. Their meeting focused on the problem of global climate change as well as a range of international issues, in continuation of the meeting they held the previous day in Brussels.

Joint discussion of divergent interests

Schröder said both governments take the view that there is a need to discuss international and transatlantic issues more openly and more intensively in the NATO framework and, as such, he sees no need to take back anything expressed in the proposal for an alliance reform first put forward two weeks ago at the Munich Security Conference.

He noted that differences of opinion on Iraq have been relegated to the past, adding that Germany has an interest, together with the United States, in seeing the development of a stable and democratic Iraq. He said the German government is contributing to this effort by providing debt relief for Iraq as well as training Iraqi military and police personnel in the United Arab Emirates. "We are willing to expand these efforts," Schröder announced.

President Bush praised Germany's contribution to the reconstruction of Iraq as well as its involvement in Afghanistan and in the fight against international terrorism. He referred to Germany as a partner of the United States in the pursuit of peace and freedom.

Working for a diplomatic solution in Iran

The Iranian nuclear program was a subject of discussion in Mainz, just as it had been the previous day at the meetings held by NATO and the EU. "We share the view that the objective of getting Iran to forego nuclear weapons needs to be achieved by diplomatic means," Schröder said, adding that both sides will have to give something in the process.

President Bush noted that the diplomatic efforts had only just begun and that "Iran is not Iraq".

Schröder welcomed the fact that the American government is once again actively engaged in promoting the Middle East peace process, saying that this is an indispensable factor if the process is to succeed.

After visiting an American military base in Wiesbaden Bush flew on to Bratislava, Slovakia for a meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Germany and the United States have agreed to pursue joint actions on cleaner and more efficient energy, development and climate change with a view to bringing economic growth and environmental protection into greater harmony with one another. In a joint declaration the two sides expressed their commitment to the objective of environmentally friendly growth at the international level: "We are particularly committed to working with developing countries to help them meet their own development and poverty reduction priorities, which requires increased access to all forms of cleaner, more abundant, and more affordable modern energy sources, including renewable and efficiency technologies." The United States and Germany want to make their own energy consumption more efficient and to modernize heat and power production systems as much as possible. The United States rejects the 'Kyoto Protocol', an international agreement that considerably strengthens national commitments to reduce greenhouse gas emissions under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.

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