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Emirati-appointed COP28 leader strongly denies report UAE wanted to pursue oil deals at summit – Magazine Creations

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — The Emirati presidential candidate for the upcoming United Nations COP28 climate talks strongly denied a report Wednesday that claimed his nation planned to use the summit to strike oil and natural gas deals gas.

Sultan al-Jaber, who also heads state-owned giant Abu Dhabi National Oil Co., called the allegations from a BBC report “an attempt to undermine the work of the COP28 presidency” before talks began on Thursday. The publication cited what it described as “leaked intelligence documents” that the broadcaster said showed the Emirates planned to discuss oil, gas and renewable energy deals with several nations.

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“These claims are false, they are not true, inaccurate and inaccurate,” al-Jaber told a small group of journalists gathered for a news conference that was also broadcast live. “I promise you that I have never seen these talking points referred to or ever used such talking points in my discussions.”

He added: “So I’m asking you for once, respect who we are, respect what we’ve achieved over the years and respect the fact that we’ve been clear, open and clean, honest and transparent about how we want to conduct this process COP’.

Asked for comment, the BBC said: “The investigation was rigorously researched to the highest editorial standards.” The broadcaster did not elaborate on the report, which it published with the Climate Reporting Center.

Immediately after the comments, a fake news release sent to The Associated Press described al-Jaber as agreeing to resign. COP28 organizers with the UAE delegation later confirmed it was false and al-Jaber would continue in his role.

Each year, the country that hosts the UN negotiations, known as the Conference of the Parties – where the COP gets its name – appoints a person to chair the talks. Hosts usually choose a veteran diplomat, as conversations can be difficult to navigate between competing nations and their interests.

The candidate’s position as “COP president” is confirmed by the delegates at the start of the talks, usually without objection. However, activist outrage over the selection of al-Jaber could see a turbulent start to negotiations.

ADNOC, the state oil company, has plans to increase crude oil production from 4 million barrels per day to 5 million, boosting production of carbon-emitting crude oil and natural gas.

Al-Jaber, a 50-year-old long-serving climate envoy, is a trusted confidant of UAE leader Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan. It is behind tens of billions of dollars spent or pledged on renewable energy in the federation of seven sheikhdoms in the Arabian Peninsula. Al-Jaber accompanied Sheikh Mohammed through the COP28 website on Wednesday ahead of his remarks.

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But the fact that al-Jaber has repeatedly defended himself and the country against activist criticism is telling in the Emirates, an authoritarian nation that, while a key US business and military ally, still tightly controls speech, bans political parties and criminalizes strikes.

US President Joe Biden, who attended the last two COP meetings in Scotland and Egypt, will not attend this summit amid the Israel-Hamas war. Vice President Kamala Harris will attend in his place.

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