conference on climate

Israeli Minister Joins COP26 After Wheelchair Fiasco

Israel’s energy minister on Tuesday called for improved access for people with disabilities, a day after she was unable to enter the UN climate summit in Glasgow in her wheelchair.

Organisers of the conference were embarrassed after Karine Elharrar missed Monday’s events when security staff would not let her car through.

She was able to enter on Tuesday.

British media reported she could not reach the site because shuttle buses taking people to the venue were unsuitable for wheelchairs.

Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett’s office said the delegation spent two hours trying to facilitate Elharrar’s entry but ultimately failed “due to it not being fully wheelchair accessible”, and issued a formal complaint.

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Elharrar told the BBC she gained access “very easily” on Tuesday.

Footage posted on Bennett’s Twitter account showed her arriving in a car.

She said it was a learning moment for future UN conferences.

“We can talk about accessibility and the right for people with disabilities but in life we need to implement all the conventions and all the regulations,” she told the BBC.

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“That was an experience that showed us that we need to pay attention to all the details everywhere.”

UK foreign office minister James Cleverly said he was “deeply disappointed and frustrated” over Elharrar not being able to access the summit on Monday.

London’s ambassador to Israel, Neil Wigan, said: “I apologise deeply and sincerely.”

Bennett and Elharrar, who is keen to promote action on renewable energy, were due to meet British Prime Minister Boris Johnson on the sidelines of the conference Tuesday

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