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It was the 3 am coup. Early on Tuesday morning, an unlikely coalition of the US and Venezuela, helped by Canada, Russia and Japan, vetoed a plan to launch talks for a UN treaty to protect the international high seas. The plan had been a chance for this week's Earth Summit to salvage some green kudos from a diplomatic quagmire, environmentalists said.
... the Brazilian hosts gave up on reaching further agreements. They called time on talks to agree a Rio+20 declaration, even though the agreed text had been widely derided as hopelessly weak, and ministers were only then arriving in the city for three days of deliberations that might have dramatically improved matters...
But in a secret session behind closed doors, the negotiators of Hugo Chavez and Barack Obama scuppered the scheme and forced through wording that would postpone for three years even a decision on whether to draw up a treaty. Both countries have long-standing objections to international oversight of the oceans..
But critics said the 49-page document, titled The Future We Want, commits no nations to anything. It calls for "urgent action" against economic activities that are "unsustainable", but says neither what those activities are, nor what such action might involve.