01 Dec 2023, 17:11

Iran delegates quit COP28 over Israel presence

TEHRAN, Dec 1, 2023 (BSS/AFP) - Iranian delegates walked out of UN climate

talks in the United Arab Emirates on Friday in protest over the presence of
Israeli representatives, state media reported.

The Iranian side considered Israel's presence at COP28 "as contrary to the
goals and guidelines of the conference and, in protest, it left the
conference venue", said Energy Minister Ali Akbar Mehrabian, who headed the
Iranian delegation, quoted by the official news agency IRNA.

The move came only hours after a seven-day truce between Israel and Hamas
expired and hostilities between the two resumed in Gaza, following the deadly
October 7 attack on Israel by Hamas militants.

IRNA had said late Thursday that Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi would not
take part in the talks and Mehrabian would instead attend the summit.

Delegates from nearly 200 countries are under pressure to step up efforts to
limit global warming at COP28, but the Israel-Hamas conflict now in its
eighth week is casting a shadow over the summit.

UAE Foreign Minister Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan had invited Raisi to attend
COP28 during talks with his Iranian counterpart Hossein Amir-Abdollahian in
June, IRNA said.

But the Iranian president had decided not to attend "due to the invitation of
the Zionist regime (Israel) officials", the news agency said.

In a phone call with his UAE counterpart, Amir-Abdollahian said "the
presence... of Israel in this meeting deserves serious consideration" in
light of its alleged "war crimes and genocide".

Under the cover of a barrage of rockets, Hamas militants stormed across the
Gaza border with Israel on October 7 and, according to Israeli officials,
killed about 1,200 people, mostly civilians, and took around 240 hostages.

The Hamas government in Gaza says Israel's bombing campaign and ground
invasion since the attack have killed more than 15,000 people in the besieged
Palestinian territory, also mostly civilians.