- The Washington Times - Saturday, February 16, 2008

From combined dispatches

U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon told President Bush yesterday that “I need your strong support” to resolve global problems.

Meeting in the Oval Office, Mr. Bush expressed strong backing for Mr. Ban and his efforts “to make the United Nations a constructive force for good.”

Mr. Ban pressed Mr. Bush to take more of a leadership role in negotiations on a new global pact to fight global warming.

The United States, which has been a reluctant partner in climate diplomacy under Mr. Bush, abruptly reversed course at climate change talks in Bali, Indonesia, in December and joined 190 nations in agreeing to negotiate a new accord by late 2009.

“It would be … very much important for the international community to sustain the momentum established in Bali, December last year, in climate change,” Mr. Ban told Mr. Bush.

Mr. Bush pulled the United States out of the Kyoto climate protocol shortly after he took office, saying it was fundamentally flawed, and has been reluctant to agree to any deal that exempts developing nations from curbs on emissions of greenhouse gases.

The Kyoto agreement bound industrial countries to cut emissions of greenhouse gases between 2008 and 2012, but it exempted developing nations.

Mr. Bush was unreserved in his praise of Mr. Ban, thanking him for his efforts to deal with the humanitarian crisis in Sudan, turmoil in Burma and violence in Kenya.

“I appreciate your vision,” the president said. “And thank you for your leadership and your friendship.”

Mr. Ban, in turn, thanked Mr. Bush for the support he has shown over the past year.

“I’ve been trying my best to make the United Nations more trustful, transparent and accountable and a more effective organization,” he said. “The United States is the country with the most ability for technology and financing capacities. I count on your leadership and active participation.”

He said a strong partnership between the U.S. and U.N. “is the crucial and important element in carrying out my duty as secretary general, and also making the United Nations organization more strengthened in carrying out the common challenges we share together.”

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