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France: Final Text of Climate Accord Expected Early Saturday

LE BOURGET, France — The final text of an international pact to fight global warming was expected to be released within hours, a French official said early Saturday, after negotiators leaving a meeting with France's foreign minister expressed optimism that success was within reach.

Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius aimed to present a new draft of the elusive accord Saturday at 11:30 a.m. local time (5:30am ET), the French official said. The official spoke on condition of anonymity because he wasn't authorized to be publicly named discussing the negotiations.

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That's a couple of hours later than Fabius had predicted, and a day after the original Friday deadline. But weary negotiators had an air of hope that had been lacking just hours earlier.

"We are pretty much there," Egyptian Environment Minister Khaled Fahmy, the chairman of a bloc of African countries, told The Associated Press late Friday. "There have been tremendous developments in the last hours. We are very close."

A negotiator from a developed country was equally positive. "I think we got it," said the negotiator, who was not authorized to speak publicly as the talks were not over yet.

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Negotiators from more than 190 countries in Paris are aiming to create something that's never been done before: an agreement for all countries to reduce man-made emissions of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases and help the poorest adapt to rising seas, fiercer weather and other impacts of global warming.

This accord is the first time all countries are expected to pitch in — the previous emissions treaty, the 1997 Kyoto Protocol, only included rich countries.

After a final draft is presented, delegations are expected to spend a few hours studying it before it goes to a plenary meeting for eventual adoption.

Prime Minister Enele Sopoaga of the Pacific island nation of Tuvalu was upbeat.

"The signals that have come to me give me encouragement that we are going to have a very ... comprehensive and strong agreement in Paris," Sopoaga told the AP.

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The U.S. and European countries want to move away from so-called "differentiation" among economies and want big emerging countries like China and India to pitch in more in a final climate deal.

U.S. Secretary of State Kerry, on his fifth straight day in France trying to iron out differences with developing countries, said he's "hopeful" for an accord and has been working behind the scenes to reach compromises.

U.S. climate envoy Todd Stern declined to comment after a meeting with Fabius late Friday.

The talks are the culmination of years of U.N.-led efforts to create a long-term climate deal. U.N. climate conferences often run past their deadlines, given the complexity and sensitivity of each word in an international agreement and the consequences for national economies.

Analysts said the delay until Saturday was not necessarily a bad sign.

"This needs consensus," said Michael Jacobs, an economist with the New Climate Economy project, speaking to reporters. "There's a lot of negotiating to do."