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COP 15: Wong says deal 'salvagable' despite African walkout

A MAJOR group of developing nations, including China and most African nations, have walked out of working groups, triggering a major stalemate between developed and developing countries at the Copenhagen climate change negotiations.

LUCY KNIGHT IN COPENHAGEN

The stalemate comes as more than 120 world leaders, including Prime Minister Kevin Rudd, began making their way to Copenhagen to help drive a new agreement on climate change.

Minister for Climate Change, Penny Wong, said there was now a "gridlock on process" and Australia and other nations were working closely with the Danish hosts to support them to try and get the negotiating process back on track.

"It is regrettable that we appear to have reached a gridlock on process, but a range of countries are working to ensure these issues are resolved," she said.

"One of the controversial issues here is the second commitment period for the Kyoto Protocol.

"Can I say very clearly that what we need to focus on is an agreement that delivers the outcome the world needs.

"An extension only of the Kyoto Protocol is not going to achieve the environmental outcome the world needs.

"Australia is willing to be constructive, but we want an agreement that achieves an environmental outcome - that means contributions from rich countries as well as poor countries."

Senator Wong said as a negotiation, some countries had very firm views about whether or not they were prepared to extend their Kyoto commitment – some nations had made it absolutely clear they wanted a new agreement.

"These are issues that need to be discussed and resolved," she said.

Senator Wong said the process was still "salvageable".

"We can resolve these issues if nations have the political will.

"We need to resolve the process issues and get into substance."

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