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‘Paris deal made possible after getting China, India on board’

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Washington : President Barack Obama has praised the US leadership for making the historic Paris agreement possible by bringing “big, emerging countries” like China and India on board as he listed his successes from the year that showed “what is possible when America leads”.

“…last week, in Paris, nearly 200 nations forged an historic agreement that was only possible because of American leadership,” Obama told reporters at his annual year-end press conference at the White House yesterday.

The US had been “working with other countries, culminating in the joint announcement with China, bringing in India, bringing in Brazil and the other big, emerging countries, working with the Europeans and getting this done”, he added.

Obama said when he went to Copenhagen, he engaged in 24 hours of diplomacy to salvage from a “pretty chaotic process the basic principle that all countries had to participate, that we couldn’t have a rigid division between developed countries and developing countries when it came to solving this problem”.

“This would not have happened without American leadership. And, by the way, the same is true for the Iran nuclear deal. The same is true for the Trans-Pacific Partnership. The same is true for stamping out Ebola — something, you guys may recall from last year, which was the potential end of the world,” he said.

Listing his successes from gains against ISIS to thawing relations with Cuba, Obama said that this year, “what you really saw was that steady, persistent leadership on many initiatives that I began when I first came into office”.

“Around the world – from reaching the deal to prevent Iran from developing a nuclear weapon, to reestablishing diplomatic relations with Cuba, to concluding a landmark trade agreement that will make sure that American workers and American businesses are operating on a level playing field and that we, rather than China or other countries, are setting the rules for global trade – we have shown what is possible when America leads,” he went on to add.

Claiming progress against the Islamic State, Obama said the terror outfit has already lost about 40 per cent of the populated areas it once controlled in Iraq besides losing territory in Syria.

However, he did acknowledge that “it is very difficult for us to detect lone wolf plots — or plots involving a husband and wife, in this case” which he termed as a different kind of challenge as compared to al Qaeda that involved highly trained operatives working as cells or as a network.

His remarks came before departing for San Bernardino, California to meet families of the 14 victims of the recent mass shooting.

Obama was later scheduled to fly off to Hawaii for a two- week vacation with his wife and daughters in what has become a family Christmas tradition.

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