Australian new Prime Minister Kevin Rudd has handed on Wednesday the official document ratifying the Kyoto Protocol to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon.
The prime minister met the UN chief Wednesday ahead of the high-level segment of the UN climate change conference in Bali, a resort island of Indonesia.
"I would like to stand and formally hand to you the instrument of ratification on behalf of the Commonwealth of Australia to the Kyoto Protocol of the United Nations Framework on Climate Change Convention," Rudd told Ban.
"This has been a decision of our government, a decision taken on the first day that my government was in office. So it is with great honor that I present you with this instrument," he said.
The two smiled and shook hands as Rudd handed over the document to Ban.
For his part, Ban thanked Rudd for the Australian move. "I congratulate you on this ratifying of the protocol so soon after you were sworn in," he said. "It is very important."
Rudd and the UN chief, accompanied by UN officials and Foreign Minister Stephen Smith, then went into a private meeting ahead of the official opening of the high-level segment of the conference .
"We will then be in a position to frame our own targets," Rudd said after a meeting Tuesday night with Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono. "Our own long-term target is an ambitious one of a 60 percent reduction in emissions by 2050."
Rudd-led new Australian government ratified the Kyoto Protocol last week. But Australia was vague on whether it supported an interim emissions reduction target of 25-40 percent by 2020 in draft text.
Australia's ratification of the Kyoto Protocol will leave the United States the only industrialized countries not to ratify the protocol, which required 36 industrialized countries to cut greenhouse gases by an average of 5 percent below 1990 levels by 2008-12.