Israeli minister unable to attend COP26 event due to lack of wheelchair access
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Israeli minister unable to attend COP26 event due to lack of wheelchair access

Britain's envoy to Israel, Neil Wigan, 'deeply and sincerely' apologises to energy minister Karine Elharrar, after she was prevented from participating in an event

Lee Harpin is the Jewish News's political editor

Karine Elharrar speaking to Israel's ambassador to the United Kingdom, Tzipi Hotovely
Karine Elharrar speaking to Israel's ambassador to the United Kingdom, Tzipi Hotovely

The UK’s Ambassador to Israel Neil Wigan has apologised “deeply and sincerely” after the Israeli Energy Minister was unable to take part in talks at the Cop 26 climate change conference in Glasgow because wheelchair friendly transport was not available.

Karine Elharrar, a member of Israel’s delegation to the United Nations summit, missed talks on Monday because of the lack of suitable transport, and returned to her hotel in Edinburgh instead.

“I flew to the climate summit to take part in the fight against climate change by meeting ministers from around the world – unfortunately this wasn’t possible because of accessibility issues, which don’t have a place in the year 2021,” Elharrar said in a statement.

“I’m hoping the lessons from today will be learned so tomorrow I can take part.”

Ambassador Wigan later tweeted:”I am disturbed to hear that
@KElharrar was unable to attend meetings at #COP26

“I apologise deeply and sincerely to the Minister. We want a COP Summit that is welcoming and inclusive to everyone.”

Wigan also spoke to Tzipi Hotovely, Israel’s Ambassador to the UK, apologising for the incident.

He also stressed that measures would be taken to ensure the situation was not repeated.

Israel’s Foreign Affairs Minister Yair Lapid himself tweeted:” Note to the organizers of the climate conference in Glasgow: It is impossible to worry about the future, the climate, and sustainability if we do not take care of people, accessibility and people with disabilities first.”

Yair Lapid’s tweet about the incident

 

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