Israel minister who missed climate summit apologises to Theresa May


The Israeli environment minister, who skipped a major global climate conference in Poland because of access issues to the venue, has accepted an apology from Prime Minister Theresa May.

A tweet posted by May on Tuesday evening appeared to apologise for the “abstinence” in minister Tzachi Hanegbi’s absence from the World Government Summit in Warsaw.

In a message, which has since been deleted, May said: “Mr Hanegbi was unable to attend today’s climate change summit because of his ongoing urgent work on changes for wheelchair accessibility.”

The visit was then said to have been “delayed because other delegates did not have access to lifts to the venue”, the PM’s tweets continued.

Mr Hanegbi’s office said it is “working on getting the project completed as soon as possible”.

On Wednesday, it said in a statement: “The prime minister spoke with Minister Hanegbi this morning and has personally apologised for the incident at the summit, and for the inappropriate wording of a tweet by Mrs May.”

It added: “Minister Hanegbi will be attending the formal session of the summit later today.”

Mr Hanegbi was in Prague, where he had been due to take part in a meeting with ministers from the Czech Republic and Slovakia.

It is the second time in less than a month that Mr Hanegbi has been embarrassed by a visit to the UK for talks with Theresa May.

The Israeli minister missed the last-minute arrival in London of senior Israeli politician Benny Begin following the PM’s meeting with the Iranian president last month.

Environment Minister Tzachi Hanegbi, who missed a major climate conference in Poland because of access issues, has accepted an apology from Theresa May.

Mrs May was hosting a leaders’ summit in Poland at the time.

A statement on Wednesday night from the Prime Minister’s official spokesman said Mrs May was “happy to receive Mr Hanegbi” from Prague.

Earlier, Mr Hanegbi had given a statement to reporters outside the venue, saying: “The first I knew of this was a tweet that Mrs May had written.

“I spoke to the prime minister and she said she had sent a tweet and she apologised for the language.

“And she said we will still work on the access issue and we will meet to resolve this, it’s clear that we’re working on this, hopefully over the next few days, or maybe weeks, and over the next few days you can see minister Hanegbi at the summit,” he added.

Mr Hanegbi’s office has said the minister has sent an official invitation to the UK leader in the past week and has expressed a willingness to attend UK Prime Ministerial summits.

Last week, Mrs May used a speech in Brussels to praise David Cameron’s efforts to bring about the original deal on cutting global emissions at the Paris climate summit in 2015.

She said: “In a world not in accord with its own future, Britain has been there as a world leader, advancing confidence, delivering multilateral cooperation and upholding the climate agreement, the world’s biggest, hardest-won.

“Britain’s approach to global warming is fundamentally different from that of some of our international rivals.”

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