US invites Pakistan to climate summit after initial snub

John Kerry in a letter to SAPM Malik Aslam extends formal invitation after initially ignoring Pakistan at summit


Our Correspondent April 20, 2021
This file photo taken on April 27, 2015 shows US Secretary of State John Kerry attending a meeting with Japanese Foreign Minister Kishida and Japanese Defence Minister Nakatani at Waldorf Astoria Hotel in New York. PHOTO: AFP

ISLAMABAD:

The United States has invited Pakistan to ‘Virtual Leaders Summit on Climate’ which has been convened by President Joe Biden on April 22-23.

However, the invitation has been extended to Special Assistant to Prime Minister (SAPM) on Climate Change Malik Amin Aslam by US climate envoy John Kerry.

“On behalf of the President of the United States, it is my pleasure to invite you to be a distinguished speaker at the virtual Summit on Climate. We would like to ask you to join other Ministers and leaders on April 22 in a discussion focused on climate adaptation and resilience,” Kerry stated in a letter addressed to Aslam.

Biden ignored Pakistan at his government's first summit on climate-change to be held on April 22 and 23. The US president has invited 40 heads of state and government, including leaders of India, Bangladesh and Bhutan – from the South Asian region.

Reacting to the country’s exclusion, Prime Minister Imran Khan had said that he was puzzled at the cacophony over Pakistan not being invited by the US to the climate summit.

“My govt’s environment policies are driven solely by our commitment to our future generations of a clean & green Pakistan to mitigate the impact of climate change,” he wrote on his official Twitter handle.

The premier referred to the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government’s major initiatives aimed at environment protection, including the Green Pakistan, 10 Billion Tree Tsunami, nature-based solutions and cleaning up rivers etc.

The Biden’s aide on climate said in the letter dated April 17 that the summit will bring together the world's major economies and other partners for an urgent and dialogue on ways to strengthen our collective efforts to confront the climate crisis.

“One of President Biden's very first actions was to return the United States to the Paris Agreement, the framework embraced globally to guide our collective climate efforts. We are fully committed to working with all countries to strengthen climate ambition heading into the UN Climate Change Conference this November in Glasgow,” the letter read.

Kerry wrote in the letter that to ensure that the summit includes other voices, the president has also invited the heads of additional countries that are especially vulnerable to climate impacts or are charting innovative pathways to a net-zero economy.

“It is our hope you can contribute Pakistan's valuable perspective to a session focused on climate adaptation and resilience, to be hosted by Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack.”

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