Israel minister couldn't attend COP26 as transport wasn't wheelchair-friendly

WION Web Team
New DelhiUpdated: Nov 02, 2021, 02:03 PM IST

FILE PHOTO: Karine Elharrar, Orna Barbivai and Meir Cohen from the Yesh Atid party arrive for consultations on the formation of a coalition government, at the President's residence in Jerusalem April 5, 2021 Photograph:(Reuters)

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Israel's energy minister could not attend the COP26 climate summit as 

Israel's energy minister said in a TV interview that she could not attend United Nations' COP26 climate summit in Glasgow on Monday as transportation provided to her was not accessible by wheelchair.

Karine Elharrar, the energy minister, told Israel's Channel 12 she could not reach the conference grounds because the only options to get there from the gathering area were to walk or board a shuttle that was not suited for a wheelchair.

"I came to COP26 to meet my counterparts in the world and advance our joint struggle against the climate crisis," Elharrar wrote on Twitter. "It's sad that the United Nations, which promotes accessibility for people with disabilities, in 2021 doesn't worry about accessibility at its own events."

She said she hoped a solution would be found by Tuesday.

Israel's foreign minister called out the conference organizers, saying: "It is impossible to worry about the future, the climate and about people if we do not first take care of human beings, accessibility and disabilities."

The British ambassador to Israel, Neil Wigan, apologized for the mishap.

"I am disturbed to hear that Karine Elharrar 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 said on Twitter.

(With inputs from agencies)