Israeli President Isaac Herzog and his Palestinian counterpart Mahmud Abbas will both address the COP28 UN climate talks in Dubai this week, seven weeks into the Israel-Hamas war, officials said on Tuesday.
Herzog and Abbas are both scheduled to make speeches lasting three minutes maximum on Friday. Abbas is expected to be in the room when Herzog is speaking, as he is scheduled to address the room only three speakers later.
Abbas, head of the Fatah party that leads the Palestinian Authority in the occupied West Bank, has only met Israeli officials on rare occasions.
A six-day pause has brought relief to the conflict in Gaza, sparked when Palestinian Hamas militants killed 1,200 people and took 240 hostages, according to Israeli officials, in a major attack on October 7.
Israel then launched a relentless bombing campaign and ground offensive in Hamas-ruled Gaza, which brutally killed almost 15,000 people, most of them women and children.
More than 140 heads of state and government are due to address COP28 on Thursday and Friday, the start of nearly two weeks of talks to address the climate crisis, according to a UN list made available on Tuesday.
Other notable speakers in the first two days include Ukrainian President Vlodomyr Zelensky, British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak, Turkey’s Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Jordan’s King Abdullah II, the emir of Qatar and Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva.
Britain’s King Charles III is expected to speak at the COP28 opening on Thursday and on Saturday, Pope Francis will become the first pontiff to address an edition of the climate talks.
Another group of leaders will take part in a second batch of speeches on December 9 and 10, before COP28 is scheduled to wrap up on December 12.