Page last updated at 13:18 GMT, Wednesday, 16 December 2009

Climate summit's Danish chief steps down

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Connie Hedegaard on the reasons for her resignation

Danish minister Connie Hedegaard has resigned as president of the UN climate change summit in Copenhagen, describing the move as "procedural".

She will be replaced the Danish Prime Minister Lars Løkke Rasmussen.

The talks are currently deadlocked over emission cuts and financial aid for poorer countries.

"With so many heads of state and government having arrived it's appropriate that the Prime Minister of Denmark presides," Ms Hedegaard said.

She said she would continue to take part in negotiations, acting as Mr Rasmussen's special representative.

The replacement of Ms Hedegaard had been rumoured since the beginning of the summit.

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However, behind the scenes there are said to be deep tensions between the Danish Prime Minister's office and Ms Hedegaard's department.

Asked whether it made the proceedings look chaotic, Ms Hedegaard told BBC News: "It is absolutely undramatic. I don't think anyone would care as long as Denmark is doing whatever it can to achieve the best possible outcome."

Ms Hedegaard, a conservative, was appointed climate minister in 2004.

She was first elected to Denmark's parliament in 1984 and was at the time the country's youngest MP.

Transparency 'lacking'

BBC environment correspondent Richard Black says the summit has been plagued by allegations from developing countries that the Danish host government has tailored the shape of negotiations to suit the EU's desired outcomes.

John Ashe, chairman of the group discussing further emission cuts from developed countries, acknowledged that there was no consensus.

"The issue of numbers has presented challenges to the working group. Hence I regret to announce that we have been unable to reach agreement," he said.

China said the process chosen by the Danish host government "lacked transparency".

Other delegates complained that texts that negotiators had worked on through the night were about to be replaced by new versions, before parties had had a chance to absorb the conclusions of previous negotiations.



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