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Warsaw UN climate conference 'will be safe' says minister

PR dla Zagranicy
Peter Gentle 06.08.2013 08:52
The Polish government has defended the date of the start of the Warsaw UN Climate Change Conference on 11 November, Polish Independence Day, saying there is “no danger of riots”.

Warsaw: photo - wikipedia

Jaroslaw Kaczynski, leader of the Law and Justice (PiS) party has called the decision to begin the UN summit on 11 November “provocative”, as for the last two years Poland's Independence Day has been marked by public disorder, with nationalist demonstrators clashing with police in the capital.

Law and Justice says that the conference – which runs from 11 to 22 November - will attract “anti-'globalist” protesters to Warsaw and clashes between left wing and right wing protesters is a real possibility.

Law and Justice MP Tomasz Kaczmarek submitted a report to Poland's Attorney General on Monday, claiming that Prime Minister Donald Tusk could have broken the law by scheduling the conference on 11 November, in that he “intentionally endangers the lives and safety of those who will be celebrating independence day.”

Prime Minister Tusk responded, however, saying that anyone who believed he “intentionally endangers” the safety of Poles celebrating Independence Day must have a “sick imagination”.

Environment Minister Marcin Korolec says that the decision to begin the summit on Monday, 11 November – a national holiday in Poland – was taken by UN delegates from 193 countries as far back as 2008 and cannot be changed.

The summit, to be held at the National Stadium, opened to host the Euro 2012 football championships last year, will be secure, says the minister.

"The stadium will be protected by our security services, but also by the United Nations and will not be be accessed without a special permit,” Minister Korolec said.

“I do not see any undue danger,” he said, adding that UN climate change conferences do not usually attract violent protest.

The conference in Warsaw will be the 19th annual session of the Conference of the Parties (COP 19) and part of a process to find a successor to the Kyoto Protocol on reducing carbon emissions globally.

Environmental groups have criticised the decision to hold the conference in Poland, a country which, they claim, has a poor record on climate change.

“A host country should be firmly committed to climate protection and be able to negotiate compromises and seal deals, but Poland has a bad track record on both counts," said Greenpeace’s Jiri Jerabek. (pg)

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