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The BBC's Jon Sopel
"France on a range of issues has a traditionally prickly relationship with the United States"
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Wednesday, 4 April, 2001, 14:49 GMT 15:49 UK
France turns heat on Bush
Greenpeace says Bush is endangering the planet
French Prime Minister Lionel Jospin has made a fierce attack on President George W Bush for his handling of international affairs.

This is not an isolationist administration...This is more like a unilateralist administration

Lionel Jospin
Mr Jospin said the new Bush administration was not so much isolationist as unilateralist.

He was focusing in particular on Mr Bush's refusal to sign up to the Kyoto protocol on cutting emissions of greenhouse gases.

But Mr Jospin went on to attack the Bush administration's dealings with other countries in general.

Lionel Jospin: Joining the war of words on Kyoto
"It doesn't seem to think," said Mr Jospin, "that a certain number of rules that make the international community work need necessarily to be taken into account.

"This is not an isolationist administration, as has been the case before in the Republican tradition.

"This is more like a unilateralist administration."

Planet survival

His comments came in an increasingly noisy war of words over the Bush administration's decision not to adopt the Kyoto protocol.

"We're talking about things which affect the survival of the planet," Mr Jospin added in his interview for French regional newspapers.

Kyoto targets greenhouse gas emissions which contribute to global warming
The policy of the Bush Administration on greenhouse gases has united both left and right in France in condemnation.

The BBC Paris correspondent says France has a traditionally prickly relationship with the United States, but on this subject, Mr Jospin seems to be speaking for more than just France.

A European Union delegation in Washington has said the EU is determined to implement the Kyoto accord, with or without the United States.

Over the coming week, the EU delegates will seek to drum up support in Japan, Russia, China and Iran - which currently holds the chairmanship of the G77 group of developing nations.

'Fatal error'

The EU is still hoping to bring the United States back on board at July talks in Germany, where the Kyoto agreement, signed in Japan, four years ago will be discussed.

Goeran Persson, Prime Minister of Sweden, which holds the EU presidency, said: "We are going to speak loudly and clearly" to save the deal.

German Foreign Minister Joschka Fischer the US will make a "fatal error" if it sinks the accord.

"It would be a fatal mistake that would set back all international efforts to protect the environment."

US pledge

Christie Whitman, the US Environmental Protection Agency administrator, told the EU delegation that the Kyoto treaty was unfair to the United States, saying it would harm economic interests.

Mr Bush said developing countries should be included in the treaty, which requires industrialised countries to cut their greenhouse gas emissions to roughly 5% below 1990 levels by 2012.

Because the US is the world's largest producer of such gases, the Kyoto targets would require extensive action by it. US emissions are now 15% above 1990 levels.

However, Ms Whitman pledged US co-operation in seeking technologies and incentives to address climate change.

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Is the US right to ditch the deal?Global warming
Is the US right to ditch the Kyoto deal?
See also:

03 Apr 01 | Americas
EU defends Kyoto accord
31 Mar 01 | Europe
Europe backs Kyoto accord
30 Mar 01 | Americas
Kyoto: Why did the US pull out?
29 Mar 01 | Sci/Tech
US facing climate isolation
28 Mar 01 | Sci/Tech
Anger as US abandons Kyoto
22 Jan 01 | Sci/Tech
Global warming 'not clear cut'
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