Some 40 nations at a high-level climate meeting have made headway toward a pact to curb global warming, but the most important issues remain unresolved, Germany’s environment minister said Tuesday.

Many delegates agreed that “this meeting has broken the ice and one cannot overestimate the importance of this,” Norbert Roettgen said as the three-day Petersberg Dialogue co-hosted by Germany and Mexico, wrapped up.

Mr. Roettgen said Tuesday it remains to be seen how the negotiations will be organized for the rest of the year and if at least parts of the treaty – such as an agreement on saving forests or on technology transfers – can be agreed upon in Cancun.

Mr. Roettgen also said Germany does not rule out continuing the Kyoto Protocol after 2012 when its current obligations expire.

In that case, the U.S. and China also “have to deliver” as they are the globe’s greatest polluters, he said.

The 1997 Kyoto Protocol obliges industrialized countries to cut their greenhouse gas emissions by 5.2 percent below 1990 levels by 2012. The U.S. has not ratified it, and China and other up-and-coming economic powers are not covered by it.

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