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Israel wants Qatar to deal with security

JERUSALEM, Aug. 29 (UPI) -- A dispute over an Israeli minister's security detail may prevent him from attending a U.N.-sponsored conference in Qatar, officials said.

Israel asked the United Nations to press Qatar to resolve the dispute concerning bodyguards of Environmental Protection Minister Gilad Erdan, who is looking to attend the November conference, The Jerusalem Post said.

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Erdan's spokeswoman told the Post the appeal to the United Nations is based on the argument that it is unacceptable that such an important conference bound to make decisions that could affect Israel would be conducted without Israeli representation.

Qatar has refused to allow Israel to organize Erdan's security detail and Shin Bet, the Israeli security agency charged with protecting Israeli officials abroad, said it wouldn't allow the minister to attend without appropriate security, the Hebrew daily Israel Hayom said.

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Erdan who said he is keen to attend the conference told Israel Radio resolutions passed at the conference will affect Israel and it will be an "opportunity for Israel to show the world its contribution toward reducing greenhouse gases."

The last Israeli minister to publicly visit an Arab country was Energy and Water Minister Uzi Landau who traveled to the United Arab Emirates for the International Renewable Energy Agency conference in 2010. At the time Landau received assurances that his bodyguards would be permitted to accompany him but they were turned away at the last minute, the Post said.

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Qatar established trade ties with Israel in 1996 and allowed the opening of an Israeli trade bureau there. Following the Israeli offensive in Gaza in 2008-09, Qatar sponsored an emergency meeting with Arab countries and severed ties with Israel.

In 2010, Israel turned down two requests by Qatar to restore trade ties.

Qatar sought permission to send building supplies to the Gaza Strip and that Israel issue a public statement expressing appreciation for its role. At the time Israel's policy was to halt such transfers since supplies could be used by Hamas to strengthen the terror infrastructure.

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