Environment minister attends meeting at COP27 alongside Iraqi, Lebanese leaders

Israel’s environmental protection minister attended a regional meeting today alongside Iraqi and Lebanese leaders at the global climate conference taking place in Egypt, the minister’s office says, where the group pledged to work together to tackle climate change.

Israel is still officially at war with Lebanon, fighting a war against the Shiite Hezbollah terror group in 2006, and Israel and Iraq have no diplomatic relations and a history of hostilities.

While Lebanon and Israel recently signed a landmark, US-brokered maritime agreement, any hint that the two states are open to cooperate even as part of a regional setting would be meaningful. Lebanon bans its citizens from having any contact with Israelis and the sea deal was negotiated through American shuttle diplomacy, with no Israeli or Lebanese officials ever publicly meeting.

According to a statement from Israeli Environmental Protection Minister Tamar Zandberg, the meeting took place as part of a regional forum of eastern Mediterranean and Middle Eastern countries.

The agreement by the member countries says the parties will work to “strengthen regional cooperation” and “act in a coordinated way” on climate change.

“The countries of the region share the warming and drying climate and just as they share the problems they can and must share the solutions. No country can stand alone in the face of the climate crisis,” Zandberg says in the statement.

In photos provided by her office, she is seen seated behind a small Israeli flag. Two seats away from her is Iraqi President Abdul Latif Rashid and across the room is Lebanese Prime Minister Najib Mikati, each behind their countries’ flags.

Mikati’s office plays down the incident, saying it was being overblown in Israeli media.

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