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Harper homeward bound after headline grabbing G20 summit in Australia

Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper speaks during a news conference following the end of the G8 Summit in Brisbane, Australia Sunday Nov.16, 2014.
Image Credit: THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
November 16, 2014 - 11:28 AM

BRISBANE, Australia - Prime Minister Stephen Harper said at the end of a Group of 20 summit that placed him in the international spotlight for telling Vladimir Putin to get out of Ukraine that Canada will soon contribute to global climate funds.

"We will be part of an international agreement of binding obligations on all major emitters," Harper told a news conference on Sunday.

"For the first time, that is actually starting to take shape so that's something we welcome and something we'll contribute to .... we've always contributed to these international climate financing initiatives, and we'll announce our own contributions to it in the not-too distant-future."

U.S. President Barack Obama was insistent that his fellow G20 leaders address climate change at the Australian summit, announcing on the sidelines of the meeting that the U.S. was contributing $3 billion to the United Nations' Green Climate Fund.

Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott, a climate change skeptic and the summit's chairman, had wanted the meeting's primary focus to be on global job creation and economic growth.

The G20 leaders finalized a plan Sunday to boost global GDP by more than $2 trillion over five years by investing in infrastructure and increasing trade.

The communique issued at the conclusion of the summit said the leaders plan to jump-start growth, in part, by creating a global infrastructure hub.

The plan will purportedly help match potential investors with projects, and also help reduce the gap between male and female participation in the workforce by 25 per cent by 2025.

Abbott said countries will hold each other to account by monitoring implementation of their commitments to boost growth. He noted the leaders unanimously agreed that expanding global trade would directly benefit countries and people around the world.

Despite a communique heavy on economics, Putin overshadowed much of the two-day summit.

Harper warned that if the world community eases up on Russia for its annexation of Crimea earlier this year, it will only whet Putin's appetite for similar aggression.

"We send the message, as I think we have in Canada, that whether it takes, five months or 50 years, we're not going to drop the subject until Ukrainian territory is returned to Ukrainians," he said.

"It is necessary for all of us to keep the pressure on Mr. Putin and his regime and to do so over the long term, to make it clear that it will not be business as usual."

Obama was equally stern about Russia, suggesting further sanctions could be looming due to Russian aggression in eastern Ukraine.

-- With files from The Associated Press

Follow Lee-Anne Goodman on Twitter @leeanne25

News from © The Canadian Press, 2014
The Canadian Press

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