On State Visit, Finnish President Calls for Climate-Change Action

Presidential PalaceJAKARTA ~ Finnish President Tarja Halonen began a two-day official visit to Indonesia on Monday by calling for speedy global cooperation on climate change, warning “nature cannot wait.”

Asked about progress towards sealing a new global pact to reverse climate change, Halonen noted the discord that had flared between nations when reaching agreements in the past.

“That’s why our target now has to be real global agreement,” she said, adding that cooperation between nations was better at climate change talks in Bali last December than it had been historically.

The Bali conference yielded an action plan that set a late 2009 deadline for a landmark new treaty to cut global-warming greenhouse gases once the current Kyoto Protocol phase expires in 2012.

Halonen said countries like China and India, which ratified Kyoto but are not tied to the same binding emissions cutbacks as industrialized nations, “should be in this cooperation. I’m sure they will be when they see that we all are victims if we don’t find the cooperation…

“Nature cannot wait. We have to be effective enough in order to continue the cooperation,” she told reporters after meeting with President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono.

Halonen, who visited Aceh during her trip, said that Indonesia and Finland shared large forestry resources and each had an interest in sustainable development.

President Yudhoyono reiterated Indonesia’s appreciation for Finnish aid in the wake of the devastating 2004 Asian tsunami, and their role in facilitating a peace process in Aceh.

Finland helped mediate a historic deal ending nearly three decades of conflict in resource-rich Aceh, at the tip of Sumatra, which had led to 15,000 deaths.

The peace pact was signed in Helsinki in the wake of the December 2004 tsunami, which killed 168,000 Acehnese.

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