Italy backs EU stance on climate - for now

Bordon orders officials to remove conciliatory text from draft council conclusions

Italy will back a strong EU statement condemning American climate policy later this week despite having earlier attempted to water down the wording, environment minister Willer Bordon said yesterday. The statement will be the last from the environment council before COP-6 negotiations on the Kyoto protocol resume in Bonn in July.

Rome's attempts to introduce a more conciliatory stance had caused disquiet among Brussels diplomats keen to maintain a strong EU line supporting the deal. They were apparently made by civil servants anticipating the arrival in government of prime minister-elect Silvio Berlusconi, who has expressed sympathy for US president George Bush's stance.

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