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Piñera cancels the APEC and COP25 summits in Chile to focus on the country’s problems

The Government admits “damages” to the international image of the country but ensures that “they are not permanent”

MADRID, Oct. 30 (EUROPE PRESS) –

The president of Chile, Sebastián Piñera, announced Wednesday that the country will not host the summits of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Forum (APEC) and the 25th United Nations Conference on Climate Change (COP25), to focus on internal problems after almost two weeks of protests over social inequality.

“Our Government, with deep pain, has resolved not to hold the APEC summit (…) nor the COP25 summit. We deeply regret and regret the problems and inconveniences that this decision will mean both for APEC and for COP25, “Piñera has announced, as reported by 'El Mercurio'.

Piñera cancels the APEC and COP25 summits in Chile to focus on the country’s problems
Piñera cancels the APEC and COP25 summits in Chile to focus on the country’s problems

The most imminent summit is that of APEC, which was scheduled for the weekend of November 16 and 17 in Santiago and to which the US president, Donald Trump, had already confirmed assistance despite the riots in Chile. COP25 was expected for December 2 and 13, also in the capital.

Piñera has stressed that it has been “a very difficult decision” due to the “importance” that APEC and COP25 have “for Chile and the world”, while ratifying the “absolute commitment” of the South American nation with both organizations .

The tenant of La Moneda has explained that he has taken this step based on “common sense and putting compatriots ahead.” “Given the difficult circumstances that the country has experienced in recent weeks, the first concern and priority is to restore public order and citizen security,” he said.

Thus, it has set as its priorities “to promote the new social agenda to respond to citizen demands”, in addition to “a broad process of dialogue in the country, with social and political forces”.

However, the Minister of Sport, Cecilia Pérez, has subsequently clarified that the final of the Copa Libertadores, set for November 23 at the National Stadium of Santiago, remains. “It is one of the many important sports in Chile. We will be working together (…) to carry out this important sporting event,” he said, stressing that “all the necessary coordination in safety matters is found” .

“We appreciate the commitment shown by the Government of Chile to guarantee the security conditions for the celebration of the unique final of the Conmebol Libertadores 2019. The final is the celebration of football with and for the Chilean people,” the South American Confederation of Soccer (Conmebol), in a statement.

APEC AND THE UN SHOW COMPREHENSIVE

UN Climate Change Executive Secretary Patricia Espinosa has revealed in a statement that the international organization is already exploring “alternative options” to host COP25. Government sources cited by 'El Mercurio' have said that Piñera has spoken by telephone with the United Nations Secretary General, António Guterres, who would have been sympathetic, confirming that Chile will remain in the rotating presidency of the COP until next year, When will it go to the UK?

Instead, the director of Greenpeace in Chile, Matías Asun, has considered that the cancellation of COP25 is “a huge failure for the environmental demands and injustices facing the country.” “We have lost a unique opportunity for the history of the country. It was the event that would assume the commitments and challenges of the climate emergency facing the world and, especially, Chile,” he lamented.

In the same line the director of WWF Chile, Ricardo Bosshard, has spoken. “Never before in Chile have we seen so much environmental awareness … Performing COP25 in the country was a dream for those of us who work for conservation and deeply regret that it has been suspended,” he said. However, he has clarified that he fully understands the reasons for the cancellation. “This should not lower the urgency of continuing to push environmental and social issues,” he said.

For its part, the executive director of APEC, Rebecca Fatima Santa Maria, has been equally sympathetic to Piñera's announcement. “The safety and well-being of Chile and the economies of our members are the main priorities of APEC,” he wrote on Twitter. “We thank Chile for its tireless defense of more inclusive growth during this year,” which the rotating presidency has exercised, he added.

Santa María has said that “all APEC members will continue to advance their important agenda to ensure that all communities in the Asia-Pacific region benefit from economic growth and integration.” “Malaysia will host the APEC summit in 2020,” he concluded.

INTERNATIONAL IMAGE

The Chilean Foreign Minister, Teodoro Ribera, has appeared hours later, together with his Environment colleague, Carolina Schmidt, to give more details about the cancellation of both summits. The foreign minister explained that in both cases Chile was in a position to guarantee security but they were canceled due to the “political signal” they sent.

“The current contingency facing Chile requires changing our agenda as a Government to focus on the changes facing citizens,” Ribera has argued. “As the president has pointed out, the priority will be placed in our house … The government has taken a decision that is painful but responsible. A necessary decision,” Schmidt said.

Despite this, the head of Chilean diplomacy has admitted “damage to the image of Chile” internationally, although he has asserted that “they are not permanent.”

The protests in Chile began on October 17 for the fourth rise of the subway ticket in a few months but grew rapidly to denounce social inequality. Piñera has presented a “social agenda” and remodeled the Government to respond to the concerns of Chileans, but the demonstrations have continued.

In these almost two weeks, at least 19 people have died, more than a thousand have been injured and more than 3,000 have been arrested. In addition, the National Institute of Human Rights has denounced abuses by security forces against those arrested that would include torture and harassment, among other abuses.

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