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Vatican says US can snub protocol, but must help environment

The United States and other industrialised nations have a right to criticise the Kyoto Protocol on global warming, but they also have an obligation to protect the environment, a Vatican official said.

Archbishop Diarmuid Martin, the Vatican's observer at UN agencies in Geneva, spoke to Vatican Radio last weekend after US President George W. Bush and European leaders meeting in Sweden disagreed over implementation of the 1997 Kyoto agreement.

"The position of the Holy See must be that of keeping attention fixed on what is at stake, which is the future of the environment and of the coming generations," Archbishop Martin said.