Israel is aiming for a full-time mission in Abu Dhabi, the headquarters of the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), according to The Jerusalem Post on Monday.
“We would like to have full representation here,” Energy, Water and National Infrastructures Minister Silvan Shalom said. “Every country has a mission with diplomats who live here. When they came to the decision to move the headquarters to Abu Dhabi, they made sure with the authorities that they would give every country the option to be here — to be here not only for the convention but to be here permanently.”
Kuwait boycotted the conference due to the Israeli presence, but Shalom said he was pleasantly surprised other Muslim and Arab countries remained and attended his address on Sunday.
He did observe some squirming and shifting, though. Although the delegates all stayed in the room, the head of the Iranian group moved from his seat at the speakers’ table to a back row.
In addition, the conference organizers manipulated the seating to accommodate diplomatic sensitivies. At the U-shaped table, which should have been in alphabetical order — with India, then Iran, then Iraq right-to-left on one leg, followed by Italy and then Israel on the adjacent perpendicular leg, Shalom explained.
“They changed the seats — you have to know that Iran is I-R and after that it should be Israel, I-S,” he said. Shalom, a former foreign minister, knows about such matters.
The minister reported having one-on-one discussions with representatives of several of the Arab and Muslim delegates. He could not say which ones, however, as “they want to keep it confidential,” he explained.