Baku Set to Be Confirmed as COP29 Host With Russia’s Support

Baku Set to Be Confirmed as COP29 Host With Russia’s Support

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Azerbaijan is set to be announced as the host of next year’s global climate talks following a meeting of eastern European countries in Dubai on Saturday, according to people close to the talks.

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The question of who will host COP29 has hung over a fortnight of COP28 talks taking place in Dubai. Eastern European countries, which hold the rotating presidency in 2024, have been unable to reach a unanimous agreement on which of them should play host next year because of Russia’s war in Ukraine. Russia said it would block any bid by a European Union member because of the bloc’s support for Ukraine.

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“We hope and expect Russia to support out bid,” said Elin Suleymanov, Azerbaijan Ambassador to the UK. He said a meeting between the group was due to take place in the afternoon in the United Arab Emirates.

The decision won’t be final until the meeting. Russia didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

Separately, two people close to the COP28 presidency said they expected Baku, Azerbaijan’s capital city, to be confirmed as the host on Saturday following the meeting. Azerbaijan, which pumps over half a million barrels a day of oil, is a part of the OPEC+ coalition of producers.

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If confirmed, it would mean that the conference of the 198 parties would be held in an autocratic fossil-fuel producing nations for the third year in a row. 

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Azerbaijan’s bid was made possible following rare peace talks on Thursday with neighboring Armenia after repeated wars over the territory of Nagorno-Karabakh since the collapse of the Soviet Union more than three decades ago.

Suleymanov said Baku has a record of hosting sporting events as well as the Eurovision song contest and would be able to accomodate the growing demands of COP. As many as 100,000 people were registered to attend this year’s COP28 talks in Dubai making it the biggest ever.

“Azerjaiban was in the first place of the oil boom of the 20th Century,” he said. “It was the beginning of the energy revolution and I think Azerbaijan could become a host of major events advancing the energy transition.” 

He also noted that last year Azerbaijan signed an agreement to build an  electriicty cable under the Black Sea that would provide wind power to countries including Romania, Bulgaria and Hungary. 

—With assistance from John Ainger.

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