The minister reviewed the claims that Australia softened the declaration of climate change

<pre><pre>The minister reviewed the claims that Australia softened the declaration of climate change

Foreign Affairs Minister Marise Payne defended "solid" discussions with leaders of the Pacific islands on the security threat posed by climate change.

Some leaders claim that Australia softened the language on climate change in an official joint statement of the Pacific Islands Forum this week.

The Minister of Foreign Affairs of Australia, Marice Payne, left, and New Zealand during the Forum of the Pacific Islands.

Senator Payne, who represented Australia at the annual conference in Nauru, compared discussions on the communique with a conversation between family members.

"I will not discuss the inner workings of a private leaders' retreat, of course, but I think it's important to note that the statement and the Boe Declaration are produced by agreement." "he told ABC radio on Friday.

"We are always having strong and frank discussions with our colleagues and we are talking about a whole series of issues.

"But the focus placed on the security aspects of this issue in the Pacific was first and foremost in our minds."

The leaders crowned the 18-nation Pacific Islands Forum on Wednesday by signing a "Boe Declaration," expanding security issues to include the environment, cybercrime and transnational crime.

As widely expected, the forum statement said that climate change presented "the greatest threat to the livelihood, security and well-being of the Pacific population" and underscored the need for "immediate urgent action".

The leaders also asked the major emitters to fully implement the national emissions mitigation objectives and for the United States to return to the Paris Agreement to address climate change.

However, it is reported that the Tuvalu prime minister, Enele Sopoaga, subsequently told the media that a country whose name began with A, Australia being the only candidate, had expressed concern about some of the terms of climate change during the talks. .

A comment has been requested from the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade on whether Australia objected to parts of the declaration.

The focus on climate change recognizes concerns that have been the key priority for Pacific leaders at the annual meeting.

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern called the Boe Declaration the most significant declaration on the security of the region in a generation.

"The current challenges of regional security include climate change, cybercrime and transnational crime," he said.

The New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs, in a statement, said it had endorsed all climate change clauses in the declaration.

The Australian Conservation Foundation said that the signing of the declaration was an important recognition of the problem by the new Morrison government, but that it needed to follow the policy.

"This international commitment of our nation must be accompanied by national action," said ACF head Kelly O & # 39; Shanassy.

"Australia's climate pollution is increasing, and we have seen another collapse of domestic policy to reduce the emissions generated by the generation of electricity."

Prior to the forum, Australian ministers sought to ease concerns among Pacific leaders about their seriousness about climate change, saying the government was still committed to its reduction goals despite the recent collapse of its planned emissions legislation.

"There is no doubt that the Pacific islands will have a negative view of Australia reducing its commitment to climate change measures, reducing our emissions footprint," Defense Minister Christopher Pyne told Sky News.

"But we do not have plans to do it."

As part of Wednesday's broader security statement, Australian Foreign Minister Marise Payne also announced the establishment of a center in the Pacific to help authorities gather information to combat illegal fishing, human trafficking and drug trafficking. .