On Friday, the Iranian delegation withdrew from the United Nations climate conference “COP28” held in Dubai, and the Israeli president canceled his speech, as the resumption of the war in Gaza overshadowed deliberations on climate change.
As Israel resumed devastating bombing after a week-long truce, many world leaders who attended to discuss climate change took the opportunity to express their regret for the war between Israel and Hamas that left thousands dead.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said in his speech: “It is impossible not to address the humanitarian crisis that our neighboring Palestinian territories are witnessing… as a result of the Israeli aggression,” which “cannot be justified under any circumstances.”
He considered this a “humanitarian crime and a war crime.”
In turn, the presidents of Colombia and Cuba described this war as “genocide.”
The war broke out after the attack carried out by Hamas on October 7, which resulted in the killing of about 1,200 people, most of them civilians, in Israel and the kidnapping of about 240 hostages, according to the Israeli authorities.
In response, Israel vowed to “eliminate” Hamas and launched a devastating air and ground military campaign on the Gaza Strip, which the Hamas government says resulted in the killing of more than 15,000 people, most of whom were also civilians.
With the resumption of hostilities in the Gaza Strip and the announcement of the killing of at least 178 people in the Strip, on Friday, according to Hamas, dozens of world leaders delivered speeches before the United Nations Climate Change Conference, but the Israeli President, Isaac Herzog, did not deliver his speech, a day after the cancellation of… President of the Palestinian Authority, Mahmoud Abbas, participating in the conference.
The Emir of Qatar was absent from the final list of speakers after his name was included in it.
Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, the kingdom’s de facto ruler, did not attend, although he was scheduled to be the first to speak.
No reason was given for these last-minute changes on Friday.
The Secretary-General of the United Nations, António Guterres, spoke at the World Climate Action Summit on the sidelines of the Conference of the Parties as news began to circulate about the resumption of the Israeli bombing of the Gaza Strip.
“As we see in this region, conflicts cause enormous suffering and inflame emotions,” he said. “We have just heard reports of renewed bombs in Gaza.”
The Iranian delegation suddenly withdrew from the conference in protest against the Israeli presence, which the head of the delegation, Energy Minister Ali Akbar Mehrabian, described as “contrary to the goals and directions of the conference,” according to the official IRNA news agency.
On Thursday, Iranian official media reported that President Ebrahim Raisi would not attend the conference and that Mehrabian would act in his place.
Iraqi President Abdul Latif Rashid used his speech to condemn the “aggressive attack on Gaza,” calling on the international community to “stand firmly” in its face.
South African President Cyril Ramaphosa said that his country was “appalled by the ongoing tragedy in Gaza and the war against innocent people… Palestine is a war crime that must stop.”
The Jordanian King, King Abdullah II, one of the first speakers, touched on the issue of Gaza, stressing that “it is not possible to talk about climate change in isolation from the human tragedies that we see around us, pointing to the direct threat that the Palestinians face to their lives,” according to what was reported by the news agency. Jordanian “Petra“.
King Abdullah stressed “the need for dealing with climate challenges to include the most vulnerable groups, pointing to the Palestinians who were greatly affected by the war on Gaza, the communities suffering from crises and poverty around the world, and refugee families and host communities in our region and the world.”
Other leaders also criticized the war in Gaza, but Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi did not address it.
The United Arab Emirates, the host country of the conference, was one of the Arab countries that signed normalization agreements with Israel in 2020.
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