Israeli ministers do not attend COP26 due to lack of access

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Israeli Energy Minister Karin Elharrar fails to attend climate summit COP26 on Monday (1st) due to lack of wheelchair access. British Prime Minister, boris johnson, the host of the event personally apologized to Elhrer, who said he accepted.

“He [Johnson] Was very kind and very friendly and apologised. Of course, I accepted and I hope it doesn’t happen again,” Elharer told CNN’s Max Foster during an interview in Glasgow on Tuesday (2).

Asked who she blamed for the problem, Elherer, who suffers from muscular dystrophy and uses a wheelchair, said she doesn’t want to be judged. “I just got a problem.”

“Instead of tackling green energy, I promoted access, with cross-country collaboration to tackle climate change,” he continued.

“I’m not apologizing. I just want next time, nothing like this happens.”

Johnson asked Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett to invite Elharer to attend a meeting on Tuesday.

According to a senior official of the Israeli delegation at the COP, the UK leader personally apologized to Elharer for the incident the day before.

Elharer, who suffers from muscular dystrophy and uses a wheelchair, traveled to the COP site on Tuesday with Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett’s team and accompanied them to the conference, the official said.

Bennett strongly criticized COP 26 organizers for their lack of access and threatened to cancel their participation in the event on Tuesday.

COP President Alok Sharma has repeatedly said that an all-inclusive convention was critical to the success of the climate summit.

CNN contacted the UK Prime Minister’s Office for comment.

According to an official who traveled with Bennett’s delegation to Scotland, Israeli officials on Monday spent two hours trying to place Elharer at the COP site, but “due to the fact that it is not fully wheelchair accessible, attempts have been made to make it easier for the people to reach the COP site.” failed and the minister was unable to enter.”

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Israel’s Foreign Minister Yair Lapid, who is not part of the delegation, tweeted: “It is impossible to protect our future and face the climate crisis without taking care of people first, including ensuring access for people with disabilities.”

Britain’s ambassador to Tel Aviv, Neil Wigan, immediately apologized.

“I am disturbed to learn that [Karine Elharrar] Could not attend COP26 meetings. I sincerely and wholeheartedly apologize to the Minister. We want a COP Summit that is welcoming and inclusive for all,” he tweeted.

The UN climate change body later on Tuesday apologized for “inconveniences, both physical and virtually, associated with accessing the COP26 site” in an email distributed to COP26 attendees.

The UN Climate Change Secretariat said that “COP26 is taking place under extraordinary and unprecedented logistical conditions” and that access to many locations had to be reduced to comply with COVID-19 protocols on maintaining social distancing.

With over 38,000 registered attendees, social distancing proved difficult at the conference.

An “unprecedented interest” in this particular COP and the security arrangements of the World Leaders Summit “contributed to many military pressures,” the statement continued.

“In many ways, the first days of COP26 were a learning process, with participants and staff getting used to pandemic-related measures and logistical situations, and we are doing our best to learn and continually adapt.”

(Translated text. read here in original English.)

About the author: Muhammad Wayne

Wayne is a reporter who covers everything from oil trading to China's biggest conglomerates and technology companies. Originally from Chicago, he is a graduate of New York University's business and economic reporting program.

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