Benjamin Netanyahu meets PM Boris Johnson in London
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Benjamin Netanyahu meets PM Boris Johnson in London

Israeli PM in town to discuss regional Iran plan with embattled British counterpart and newly appointed US Secretary of Defence

Prime Minister Boris Johnson with Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu before holding talks in 10 Downing Street. Photo credit: Alastair Grant/PA Wire
Prime Minister Boris Johnson with Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu before holding talks in 10 Downing Street. Photo credit: Alastair Grant/PA Wire

Boris Johnson met Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Thursday and confirmed his Government would continue to support a two-state solution in the Middle East peace process.

Netanyahu, who is now Israel’s longest-serving premier, met the PM for half an hour in the middle of a parliamentary fight over Brexit.

New United States Secretary of Defence Mark Esper also flew in to join the pair, as the three countries aim to iron out a concerted response to increasing military confrontation with Iran and its regional proxies.

Thursday’s meeting was Netanyahu’s first with Johnson and Esper since they took office. In a call between Netanyahu and Johnson last month, the veteran Israeli leader – himself preparing for the country’s next election in two weeks’ time – told the new British leader that the UK should “take a strong stand against Iran”.

Netanyahu will aim to cleave the UK away from the 2015 nuclear deal negotiated between Iran and the Obama administration, together with Russia, China, Germany, France and the UK, which offered sanctions relief in exchange for the dismantling of Iran’s nuclear infrastructure. Iran has upheld its responsibilities, and Johnson has so far refused to withdraw from the accord, as Donald Trump did.

Johnson and Netanyahu last met in London in February 2017, when Johnson – then Britain’s foreign secretary – hosted the Israeli leader for the centenary celebrations of the Balfour Declaration.

Months earlier, Johnson visited Jerusalem, where he said Britain wanted to “help remove the obstacles” to a two-state solution “in a modest and humble way,” adding: “We work with you, as you know, in all kinds of ways to ensure the stability of the entire region.”

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