PARIS – Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu were among the 151 national representatives to attend the 21st United Nations climate conference in Paris, weeks after the city faced a deadly terror attack that left 130 dead, and several more injured.
“I’m not choosing between the fight against terror and the fight against global climate change,” French President François Hollande said during his opening remarks, before holding a moment of silence for victims of terror in France, Lebanon, Iraq, Tunisia, and Mali.
“Because we must leave our children more than a planet free of terrorism … We must leave them a viable planet,” he said.
On Monday, Trudeau and Netanyahu – who earlier, for the first time in five years, shook hands with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas (also in attendance) – met in person for the first time, following a phone call from the Israeli PM congratulating Trudeau’s election win last month.
“I’m delighted to see Prime Minister Trudeau, we’ve had a chance to speak on the telephone,” said Netanyahu. “Canada and Israel have had superb relations, and there’s a foundation there to make these relations even stronger. Very practical things are of interest to both our peoples, and I look forward to having that conversation with you. I am inviting you to Israel at your earliest opportunity.”
“It would be a pleasure to return to Israel when it works out,” said Trudeau. “In general this is really about starting a conversation to continue the very strong friendship and relationship between Canada and Israel. We have many issues to talk about and discuss, but also many issues to collaborate on, and I look forward to continuing the strong friendship that Canada has shown towards Israel for decades.”
Following his election win, Trudeau reached out to the Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs (CIJA) to affirm his support for Israel. Later, new foreign affairs minister Stephane Dion said that while Israel would remain a strong “ally,” Canada would be returning to its role as an “honest broker” in the Middle East.
Last week, the Canadian government voted against several anti-Israel resolutions submitted by the United Nations.