Britain's Queen Elizabeth II arrived in Trinidad and Tobago on Thursday to a wave of enthusiasm but also concern as some world leaders wonder if they can reach an agreement on climate change ahead of an upcoming international summit, and some in the Caribbean question whether they should remain tethered to the British monarch.
The queen's rare visit to the region -- her third to oil-rich Trinidad since 1966 -- comes as the Commonwealth Heads of Government hold meetings in Port of Spain through Sunday. Climate change is expected to dominate discussions among 50 of the 53 self-governing members of the former British empire.
The summit will also feature French President Nicolas Sarkozy, Danish Prime Minister Lars Lokke Rasmussen and U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon. Although none heads a Commonwealth nation, the four have been invited to help forge an agreement on climate change before the U.N.-sponsored Climate Change Summit in Copenhagen, Denmark, next month. That gathering is expected to attract at least 65 world leaders, including President Barack Obama.
"Already, this is turning out to be one of the largest major gatherings of political leaders and heads of governments before next month's summit in Copenhagen," said Ben Malor, a spokesman for Ban.
"This is an opportunity where the Secretary General is going to drive up the momentum toward Copenhagen, asking and urging the leaders to make sure success is achieved in Copenhagen because failure would be too costly."
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