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COP28 Leader Denies Oil Deals 11/29 06:42


   DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) -- The Emirati president-designate for the 
upcoming United Nations COP28 climate talks forcefully denied Wednesday a 
report alleging his nation planned to use the summit to strike oil and gas 
deals, a day before the summit was due to begin.

   Sultan al-Jaber, who also leads the massive state-run Abu Dhabi National Oil 
Co., called the allegations from a BBC report "an attempt to undermine the work 
of the COP28 presidency" before the talks begin Thursday. The report cited what 
it described as "leaked briefing documents" the broadcaster said showed the 
Emirates planned to discuss fossil fuel deals with 15 nations.

   "These allegations are false, not true, incorrect and not accurate," 
al-Jaber told a small group of journalists gathered for a news conference that 
also was aired live. "I promise you never ever did I see these talking points 
that they refer to or that I ever even used such talking points in my 

   He added: "So please for once, respect who we are, respect what we have 
achieved over the years and respect the fact that we have been clear open and 
clean and honest and transparent on how we want to conduct this COP process."

   The BBC did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

   Adnan Amin, the conference's chief executive and a top lieutenant of 
al-Jaber, said he wasn't concerned about the possible fallout of the report and 
said he believed Emirati officials were determined to make progress toward 
limiting climate change.

   "I think they're focused on delivering a transformational COP. ... They're 
focused on creating a platform for everybody to have the ability to discuss 
ambitious climate action," Amin, a veteran U.N. official and longtime proponent 
of renewable energy, told The Associated Press after hosting a pre-conference 
meeting with delegation chiefs.

   Immediately after al-Jaber's remarks, a faked news release sent to The 
Associated Press described al-Jaber as having agreed to resign as CEO of ADNOC. 
COP28 organizers with the UAE delegation later confirmed it was false and 
al-Jaber would continue in his role.

   Each year, the country hosting the U.N. negotiations known as the Conference 
of the Parties -- where COP gets its name -- nominates a person to chair the 
talks. Hosts typically pick a veteran diplomat as the talks can be difficult to 
steer between competing nations and their interests.

   The nominee's position as "COP president" is confirmed by delegates at the 
start of the talks, usually without objections. However, activists' ire over 
al-Jaber's selection could still see a turbulent start to the negotiations.

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

   Al-Jaber, a 50-year-old longtime climate envoy, is a trusted confidant of 
UAE leader Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan. He's been behind tens of 
billions of dollars spent or pledged toward renewable energy in the federation 
of seven sheikhdoms on the Arabian Peninsula. Al-Jaber escorted Sheikh Mohammed 
through the COP28 site on Wednesday ahead of his remarks.

   But the fact that al-Jaber repeatedly defended himself and the country from 
activists' criticism is incredibly telling in the Emirates, an autocratic 
nation that while a key U.S. business and military ally still tightly controls 
speech, bans political parties and criminalizes labor strikes.

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