• Terrorism, climate top Aquino, Hollande agenda

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    Terrorism will be one of the pressing issues that French President François Hollande will discuss with President Benigno Aquino 3rd this week.

    Presidential Communications Secretary Herminio Coloma Jr. said Aquino and Hollande will exchange views on terrorism, “such as what happened involving Charlie Hebdo in Paris that claimed the lives of 20 people.”

    Aquino and Hollande will also urge world leaders to conclude a climate-change agreement when they meet this year, Coloma added.

    France is hosting the 21st meeting of the Conference of Parties (COP21) in Paris in December 2015.

    About 40,000 stakeholders are expected to attend the event.

    Hollande will be in the Philippines from February 26 to 27.

    His state visit is the first by a French president since the establishment of diplomatic relations between France and the Philippines in 1947.

    Upon arrival, Hollande will proceed to Luneta (Rizal Park) to lay a wreath in honor of Philippine National Hero Jose Rizal.

    The French president will be accompanied by a delegation of over 100 officials, celebrities and journalists.

    French Ambassador to Manila Gilles Garachon said Hollande and Aquino will launch a call for countries to commit to a two-percent reduction in their carbon-dioxide emission.

    Hollande’s visit coincides with the holding of a climate-change forum to be attended by the academe and civil society organizations on February 26.

    “We have to reach as soon as possible an agreement wherever it takes place. Our expectation is we reach an agreement [during the visit],” the ambassador added.

    The commitment to reduce carbon-dioxide footprint by as much as two percent is in preparation for the Paris conference against climate change.

    Garachon explained that the Philippines has a positive stand in the international community in the fight against climate change.

    “Your country was badly hit by Typhoon Yolanda. Our idea is to make a call from Manila and all those leaders to show flexibility and maximum willingness to reach an agreement before [the]end of the year,” he said.

    “We have to act very fast. The problem with climate-change issue before, the scientists used not to agree on consequences. Now, most scientists agree it’s changing and not changing for the best. We all have to mobilize to reduce emission of carbon dioxide or it will be uncontrollable,” the envoy added.

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