Bush-administration officials privately threatened organizers of the U.N. Climate Change Conference, telling them that any chance there might’ve been for the United States to sign on to the Kyoto global-warming protocol would be scuttled if they allowed Bill Clinton to speak at the gathering today in Montreal, according to a source involved with the negotiations who spoke to New York Magazine on condition of anonymity.
“The organizers said the Bush people were threatening to pull out of the deal,” the source said. After some deliberation between Clinton and his aides, Clinton decided he wouldn’t speak, added the source: “President Clinton immediately said, ‘There’s no way that I’m gonna let petty politics get in the way of the deal. So I’m not gonna come.’ That’s the message [the Clinton people] sent back to the organizers.”
At around 8:30 p.m., organizers called Clinton aides and said that they’d successfully called the bluff of Bush officials, adding that Bush’s aides had backed off and indicated that Clinton’s appearance wouldn’t in fact have adverse diplomatic consequences.