, BRASILIA, May 7 – German Chancellor Angela Merkel and British Prime Minister David Cameron will not attend next month’s Rio conference on sustainable development, their respective embassies said here Monday.
Merkel had received a personal invitation from Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff but she telephoned Rousseff to inform her that Berlin would be represented at the June 20-22 summit by Environment Minister Norbert Rottgen and Development Minister Dirk Niebel, the German embassy said.
It did not say why Merkel could not attend.
The British embassy, meanwhile, said Cameron would also stay away and London would be represented by Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg.
The summit’s dates had been altered so they would not coincide with Queen Elizabeth II’s Diamond Jubilee celebrations and thus make if possible for Cameron and other world leaders to attend.
There is no word so far on whether US President Barack Obama will show up although observers and non-governmental organizations say privately he was unlikely to do so given that he will be busy campaigning for his re-election.
The European Union said through its mission here that its president, Jose Manuel Barroso, would attend the summit.
Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy is also expected to show up and Sunday Rousseff invited French President-elect Francois Hollande.
The Rio+20 gathering, the fourth major summit on sustainable development since 1972, is to bring together at least 100 global leaders and 50,000 participants from around the world, including corporate executives and representatives of various social movements.
Participants will take stock of the health of the planet, focusing on growth, food security, access to water, lifestyles, energy, biodiversity and climate.
The summit will seek to outline a path toward a “green” and social economy that can balance economic growth, poverty eradication and protection of the environment.