Barack Obama, Xi Jinping, Narenda Modi among leaders to attend Paris climate summit

People walk path the "pavillon circulaire" (circular pavilion) , an experimental construction built in reuse materials on the forecourt of the City Hall in Paris, ahead of the 21st session of the Conference of the Parties (COP 21 / CMP 11) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. PHOTO: AFP

PARIS (AFP) - At least 80 world leaders, including Barack Obama, Xi Jinping and Narendra Modi, will attend a summit tasked with inking a global climate pact in Paris in December, France's foreign minister said Tuesday.

For the opening day on Nov 30, "we have already received 80 confirmations, including from the presidents of the United States and China, and the Indian prime minister", Laurent Fabius told journalists in Paris.

The leaders of Britain, Germany, South Africa, Brazil and Canada have also accepted, he said.

The last attempt at sealing a global climate pact, in 2009, saw about 110 world leaders descend on a UN summit in Copenhagen for the two final days, only to leave frustrated when the negotiations collapsed.

"Together with President Francois Hollande, we decided to invite heads of state to attend the first day, and not the end as in Copenhagen," said Fabius.

This had been partly to blame for the failure, he said, "as the negotiators were waiting for heads of state to negotiate, and the heads of state failed to resolve anything".

This time round, "the idea is to provide a political impetus at the beginning" of the conference.

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