Chile pulls out from hosting climate and trade summits

President Sebastián Piñera of Chile said on Wednesday that his country, which has been rocked by a wave of recent protests, was not in a position to host a key UN climate change meeting and major Asia-Pacific trade summit later this year. The announcements underscored how destabilising the recent wave of protests and acts of vandalism have been for the country, which has long been regarded as an exemplar of stability in a tumultuous region. In a speech at the presidential palace on Wednesday, Mr. Piñera cited the “difficult circumstances that our country has experienced” to explain why Chile would not be able to host the events. “Our first priority as a government is to focus first and foremost on fully restoring public order and social peace,” he added. Cancelling the climate meeting, which had been scheduled for December, leaves organisers with a very tight window to find a new venue. Chile stepped up to host the Climate Change Conference after the initial host, Brazil, pulled out last year. Brazil’s decision came soon after the election of President Jair Bolsonaro. Patricia Espinosa, head of the UN climate change agency in Bonn, said her office had heard from Chilean presidency about the cancellation. “We are currently exploring alternative hosting options,” she said in a statement.

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