Developing nations accused rich ones Thursday of stonewalling on finance in negotiations for a universal climate rescue pact -- an issue they said would make or break the entire effort.
The G77 bloc of developing nations, representing 80 percent of the world's population, insists that firm funding commitments from developed nations must make it into the core of the agreement being shaped at talks in Bonn.
But negotiators from rich nations, they claimed, were trying to put off the difficult discussion so that multilateral lenders outside of the official UN climate process take over the responsibility for funding.
The much-vaunted agreement, which would crown more than two decades of fraught climate negotiations, is meant to be inked at a year-end UN summit in Paris.
"France will be judged by what is in the core agreement on finance. For us that will be the yardstick of success," South Africa's climate envoy Nozipho Mxakato-Diseko, who chairs the G77, told journalists in Bonn.
But while the bloc had come up with common positions on finance, she claimed, "developed countries have not negotiated, in the hope that it will be sorted (out) external to the agreement, where we are weakest," the ambassador said.
The reason civil society observers had been excluded from negotiating sessions, she said, is because "that's where they (developed nations) hope they will get away with it.
"Beneath the darkness, where there is no scrutiny from civil society, the hope is that our will will be bent so much that we are tired, we give up and then the issue is resolved by announcements that are external" to the UN climate process.
The success of Paris, said Mxakato-Diseko, will be judged by "what will be contained inside" the core agreement, "not what has been announced by the World Bank, which is a competitor with developing countries for finance to give to us on conditions that are unregulated."
Also disqualified, she said, are payments from the International Monetary Fund, which "has no status in the agreement."
Having finance undertakings in the agreement was important, she argued, because they then become part of "a legal dispensation that must be met" -- under the UN's climate convention.
"Otherwise we are left to the whim of charity, the whim of individual countries to decide if and when (to pay), depending on the circumstances."
Rich nations stalling on climate finance: developing bloc