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10 December 2011

End in sight for climate talks


Durban - The latest draft document in the wrestling match over Earth's future climate appeared at about noon on Saturday, indicating that two weeks of talks were about to end.

Delegates and watchdog groups were wading through the 56-page text, trying to parse its meaning. Voting on a final document was not expected to begin for some hours.

"Outlines of a deal are now emerging, with more promise than this time yesterday," said Tim Gore of the environmental group Oxfam.

"But with such a complex package under negotiation, many important questions remain to be answered."

The final scramble for agreement at the 17th annual UN climate talks forced participants like German Environment Minister Norbert Roettgen and the large Chinese delegation to try to rebook flights, as many of the 15 000 participants found flights already filled.

The ubiquitous coffee and cappuccino stands around the Albert Luthuli International Conference Centre also started to close down and disappear, likely the best sign that two weeks of talks were about to end.

- SAPA