By Gavin Drake

The French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius, chairman of the talks, said he would present another draft agreement Saturday morning to negotiators from almost 200 countries.

“We are nearly there, I’m optimistic,” he told journalists, saying that he was “sure” that the revised text, which he described as “a big step forward for humanity as a whole,” would be approved.

Ban Ki-moon, secretary general of the United Nations, described the negotiations as “most complicated, most difficult, but most important for humanity.”

Negotiators representing more than 190 countries have spent the past two weeks trying to reach agreement, but a draft text issued on Wednesday contained more than 300 areas in which agreement was still required.

Areas of disagreement included the level at which the countries would agree to limit global temperature rises.

“Many countries, including island States that are threatened by rising sea levels, consider themselves in danger beyond 1.5°C, but such an objective would require considerable efforts by the major emitters, such as China and India, who are against such a threshold,” the French presidency of the COP21 talks said.

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Image: Archbishop Thabo Makgoba joins an interfaith group of religious leaders sitting in front of empty trays during a public action promoting the Fast for the Climate campaign during the COP21 UN climate summit in Paris. • Ryan Rodrick Beiler/Lutheran World Federation