US withdrawal from Paris Agreement "major disappointment"

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UN Spokesperson Stephane Dujarric addresses the US decision to withdraw from the Paris Agreement at UN Headquarters.UN Photo/Manuel Elías.

The withdrawal from the UN-led Paris Agreement on climate change announced by the President of the United States on Thursday is a "major disappointment".

That's the verdict of UN Spokesperson Stephane Dujarric, speaking to reporters at UN Headquarters.

He said it was crucial the US "remained a leader on environmental issues".

Matthew Wells has more.

Mr Dujarric responded shortly after President Donald Trump revealed his decision at the White House, to pull out of the 2015 Paris Agreement, ending months of speculation.

Mr Trump described the historic accord signed by more than 190 countries as unfair to the US, and said he was fulfilling his campaign mantra to "Make America Great Again".

He said he would try and renegotiate a better deal for the US.

Only Syria and Nicaragua have refused to join the accord.

The UN Spokesperson said that the agreement had been adopted because countries recognized the "immense harm" already being caused by climate change.

He said it offered a "meaningful yet flexible framework" for action by all.

"The transformation envisaged in the Paris Agreement is already underway.  The Secretary-General remains confident that cities, states and businesses within the United States — along with other countries — will continue to demonstrate vision and leadership by working for the low-carbon, resilient economic growth that will create quality jobs and markets for 21st century prosperity."

He said UN chief Antonio Guterres was "looking forward to engaging with the American government and  all actors in the United States and around the world to build the sustainable future on which our grandchildren depend".

Matthew Wells, United Nations.

Duration: 1'21"

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