Negotiations at a two-week meeting in Bali, Indonesia, to establish the agenda for the upcoming World Summit on Sustainable Development ended in stalemate on Friday. Delegates could not agree on several key issues and were ultimately forced to admit defeat; former Indonesian Environment Minister Emil Salim, who chaired the meeting, blamed the failure on a lack of good faith among the negotiators. The contentious issues included a demand by the U.S. that development aid be contingent on efforts to fight corruption, as well as developing countries’ call for richer nations to commit to widening their markets to trade and the transfer of technology. The WSSD, to be held in Johannesburg, South Africa, at the end of August, is supposed to establish clear targets and timetables for protecting the environment, ensuring sustainable economic development, and eradicating poverty. But the disintegration of the Bali talks places all of those goals in jeopardy.

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