Mon, Dec 04, 2017 - Page 5 News List

Obama takes on Trump at Paris event

AFP, PARIS

Former US president Barack Obama, left, waves as he arrives with Orange chief executive and chairman Stephane Richard to speak at an innovative communications conference organized by Les Napoleons network group in Paris on Saturday.

Photo: AFP

Former US president Barack Obama on Saturday took a new swipe at his successor, Donald Trump, over the Paris climate accord at a meeting with business leaders in the French capital.

Obama also vouched for the superiority of female leadership as “men seem to be having some problems these days,” alluding to the sexual assault and harassment scandals currently engulfing the US.

Speaking to a group of communications and media leaders as well as financiers and academics known as Les Napoleons, Obama regretted what he called a “temporary absence of American leadership” on climate change.

He was referring to Trump’s threat to withdraw from the 2015 Paris climate accord, the day after making similar remarks during a visit to New Delhi.

Trump has said the accord is crippling US business and has called for the agreement to be renegotiated.

Asked to list leadership qualities for the future, Obama advocated “more focus on putting women in power, because men seem to be having some problems these days.”

“Not to generalize, but women seem to have a better capacity than men do, partly because of their socialization,” said the 56-year-old Democrat, who left office in January.

Obama also used the occasion to hone his post-presidential vision of hope and change as he seeks to build support for the foundation he launched in September.

“If we can adapt to change, we can make extraordinary progress. Hope is not being blind to problems,” Obama said. “Hope is facing problems and then still believing that we can work them out.”

The world is “healthier, wealthier and less violent than at any time in human history,” with “only a few things that are irreversible,” he said, but also warning of the dangers of “deeply embedded inequality.”

“Going forward we need to modernize our economies in a way that is inclusive,” he said.

Obama earlier on Saturday lunched with French President Emmanuel Macron, meeting him for the first time after backing his presidential campaign.

Obama also on Saturday met with former French president Francois Hollande and Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo.

“We discussed the big challenges of the planet and especially the subject of the climate. We are confident the accord will be implemented,” Hollande tweeted afterward.

Hidalgo said the C40, an international network of mayors that she heads, would build ties with the Obama Foundation focusing on climate change.

Obama was seen as a major catch for Les Napoleons, a relatively unknown networking group set up in 2014 and claiming a membership of about 3,000. His has not been disclosed, but a rampant rumor mill suggested the figure of US$400,000.

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