Seeking a “strong political agreement” at the Copenhagen climate change summit, UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has said the world leaders “must seal the deal” to tackle the pressing issue of global warming.

“The momentum has been created. This is a decisive moment. We must seal the deal,” the Secretary General told reporters yesterday at the UN headquarters at a joint press briefing with the visiting French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner.

Ban said he is encouraged that more than 105 Heads of State and government are committed to participate in the meeting of world leaders on the 18th of this month.

“Before that, we must have a strong political agreement in Copenhagen. The more ambitious, the stronger agreement we have in Copenhagen, the easier, the quicker the process we will have to a legally binding treaty in 2010, as early as possible,” he said.

Ban Ki-moon will be travelling to Copenhagen next week to attend the high-level segment of the summit which begins on 17 December.

The French Foreign Minister said the most important problem of the Copenhagen conference, apart from that of climate change, is to find ways to lessen the huge gap between the rich and the poor countries.

“We know very seriously that the developing countries are facing a difficult daily life, and you cannot ask the developing countries, those who are suffering from starvation, to control their emissions because they want wood to cook what they have not to cook,” Mr. Kouchner said.

Mr. Kouchner also dismissed the idea of the proposed idea of 0.005 per cent tax being the Tobin tax, a suggested tax on all trade of currency across borders.

“Some people are talking about the former Tobin tax. This is completely different. The Tobin tax was offered as a sort of “rebalancement” of the currencies -- 1 per cent,” Mr. Kouchner said.

France has proposed the idea of 0.005 per cent tax on financial transactions, which would provide between 30 to 40 billion euros, Mr. Kouchner said.

“We are talking about a general contribution on all financial movements, a contribution of 0.005 per cent that is to say, impossible to feel. A thousand dollars or euros will produce 5 five cents if it is accepted. It will provide funds for the third world for the Millennium goals, because we are talking in his house, in the UN system, we are talking about the Millenium goals offered in 2000, which are not fulfilled because we have no money, not enough money,” Mr. Kouchner said.

Mr. Kouchner said that France has been working on this concept with a group for an year, mainly since the last General Assembly, involving 59 countries, and a group of nine international experts in banking, economists and politically involved people. He said that the group delivered a report at the beginning of every year

“They are exploring a lot of avenues and they will offer us the result of their experiences and concerns. Our idea for the time being, it has not been accepted,” he said.