Israeli embassy declines to release its letter

The Israeli embassy has declined to release the letter it says was sent to the Department of Foreign Affairs which it expected to lead to a meeting between the departing ambassador and President Michael D Higgins.

The embassy said such a move was not possible because it regarded correspondence with the Government to be confidential.

The comments follow a diplomatic squall over allegations the Áras failed to arrange a courtesy farewell meeting between departing ambassador Boaz Modai and the President.

A spokesman for the Israeli embassy said it did not intend to lodge a complaint regarding the matter.

A meeting between the two men was hastily arranged the day before the ambassador left, after the embassy expressed concern Mr Modai had not been officially invited to Áras an Uachtaráin for a formal farewell by the head of State.

Mr Higgins gave the departing ambassador a collection of his poetry as a farewell gift at the meeting.

A spokesman for President Higgins insisted the Áras had behaved properly in the matter: “ Some ambassadors do formally request the Department of Foreign Affairs to seek to arrange a visit to the President at the conclusion of their posting to Ireland — all such requests received in 2015 have been facilitated.

“In this instance, no such request was received from the ambassador in question, or on his behalf, by the President through the Department of Foreign Affairs or otherwise until Tuesday, August 11.

“Áras an Uachtaráin, having learned of the Ambassador’s wishes on Tuesday, confirmed that the President was available for a meeting.

“The Israeli Ambassador made a farewell a courtesy call on the President at 10.30am on Wednesday, August 12,” the spokesman said.


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