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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Bali Talks Agree on Road Map

NUSA DUA, Indonesia -- Nearly 200 nations agreed at UN-led talks in Bali on Saturday to launch negotiations on a new pact to fight global warming after a last-minute reversal by the United States allowed a breakthrough.

Washington said the agreement marked a new chapter in climate diplomacy after six years of disputes with major allies since U.S. President George W. Bush pulled out of the Kyoto Protocol, the main existing plan for combating warming.

But despite its dramatic turnaround in the meeting, which approved a "road map" for two years of negotiations to adopt a new treaty to succeed Kyoto, the White House said it still had "serious concerns" about the way forward.

"This is the defining moment for me and my mandate as secretary-general," UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said after making a return trip to Bali to implore delegates to overcome deadlock after the talks ran a day into overtime.

Ban had been on a visit to East Timor. "I am deeply grateful to many member states for their spirit of flexibility and compromise," Ban said.

The deal after two weeks of talks came when the United States dramatically dropped opposition to a proposal by the main developing-nation bloc, the G77, for rich nations to do more to help the developing world fight rising greenhouse emissions.

The United States is the leading greenhouse gas emitter, ahead of China, Russia and India.