WASHINGTON: Presi­dent Joe Biden will miss the latest UN climate summit in Dubai, after two years of attending the talks in hopes of highlighting US leadership, a US official said.

Some 70,000 people, including national leaders and Pope Francis, are expected at COP28 as it opens on Nov 30, in what could be the largest UN climate summit ever. COP28, which will be held until Dec 12, is due to be attended by 167 world leaders, including King Charles III and Pope Francis.

Schedules released by the White House for Biden and Vice President Kam­a­la Harris showed neither heading to Dubai this week.

A US official confirmed Biden was not planning to attend COP28 this week or during a second window close to the end of the talks. The official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the Biden administration was still “discussing whether to send a top-level official” to Dubai.

The official did not give a reason for Biden’s decision. But Biden has been focused for more than a month on the war between Israel and Hamas and is also looking to highlight his domestic agenda with less than a year to the US presidential election.

John Kerry, the US climate envoy and former secretary of state and senator, will be leading day-to-day negotiations for the US.

Published in Dawn, November 28th, 2023

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