Obama to meet China's Xi, India's Modi at Paris climate talks: White House

Reuters News
Posted: Nov 24, 2015 2:33 PM

By Valerie Volcovici

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. President Barack Obama will meet China's president and India's prime minister on the first day of Paris climate talks on Nov. 30 to give momentum to the two-week U.N. negotiations, White House officials said.

Obama's meetings with Chinese President Xi Jinping and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the start of the two-week climate summit "send a strong message to the world about their strong commitment to climate change," White House Deputy National Security Advisor Ben Rhodes said.

Nearly 140 world leaders confirmed their attendance at the opening day of the U.N. Climate Change conference that runs until Dec. 11, even after the Nov. 13 attacks by Islamic State militants rattled the host city.

Rhodes said Obama is likely to pay tribute to the people of Paris during his trip, and said he and other world leaders will attend the climate talks as a "clear sign of strength and resilience in the face of terrorism."

Paul Bodnar, senior director for energy and climate change at the White House National Security Council, said Obama's meetings with Xi and Modi are not expected to yield new announcements but to consult on key issues of the negotiations.

"These two countries are two of our most important partners in dealing with global climate change," he said.

Obama will also meet with French President Francois Hollande, as well as with leaders of island nations such as the Seychelles and Marshall Islands that are threatened by rising sea levels.

The administration officials said Obama will be joined in Paris by key members of his cabinet, including Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Gina McCarthy, Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz and Interior Secretary Sally Jewell.

(Reporting by Valerie Volcovici and Jeff Mason; Editing by Eric Walsh and Chizu Nomiyama)