Saudi Arabia "satisfied" with Copenhagen result

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Saudi Arabia's lead climate negotiator told the BBC yesterday that his country was "satisfied" with the results of the Copenhagen climate talks last month, even though the resulting agreement was widely criticised for not mandating firm reductions in global carbon emissions.

The Kingdom has come under heavy criticism from environmental groups and many political leaders, who say its aim has been to prevent a global agreement on climate change at all costs.

Saudi officials reject those allegations, but they have emphasised that a global effort to curb fossil fuel use as part of a climate agreement could have far-reaching effects on the Saudi economy.

The Saudis claim they want to play a positive role in the negotiating process, but Mohammad al Sabban, the Saudi negotiator, kicked off the Copenhagen talks by questioning the strength of the science supporting climate change. Mr al Sabban kept a low profile at the two-week summit after those initial remarks, which were met with angry reactions across the world.

Mr al Sabban yesterday indicated that a general political accord reached at the summit incorporated the interests of oil producers.

"I would like to express our satisfaction with the outcome,"  he wrote in an e-mail to BBC News. "We were among the 25 or so countries who positively negotiated the accord along with the world leaders, and we had succeeded in including the interest of OPEC countries in the Copenhagen Accord."