Analysis: Relief for Jerusalem at appointment of Hague

By Tim Marshall, May 13, 2010
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The challenge for Prime Minister Cameron is to grip one issue immediately and quickly master the detail on another.

From the first hours in office he needed information on Afghanistan, Pakistan and global terrorism. At any given moment news could come of an imminent operation which needs his approval.

The detail he needs to master is the Iranian nuclear issue. This requires a quick cementing of the relationship with Barack Obama. They will be in lockstep at the UN but the dilemma will come if there is military action involving the USA. It is difficult to see UK forces being directly involved, but would a Cameron government allow British bases to be used given the inevitable backlash?

On Europe the EU will watch closely to see if this government is as hostile to the political idea of "Europe" as was the Thatcher/Major-led ones.

Britain needs to press the reset button with Russia. An increasingly assertive Russia has resulted in a relationship which is at best tetchy. Mr Cameron can either continue to bump up against Moscow, or get over Russia's behaviour and the Litvinenko murder and follow most countries in ensuring the UK is at least cordial with this energy superpower.

The Israeli/Palestinian conflict will not be top of the in-tray. Britain has limited influence. The Palestinians have fading hopes that President Obama will lean on the Israeli side, while the Israelis will feel comfortable with a Conservative Party that has traditionally been a "friend of Israel".

Jerusalem will be relieved that the Foreign Secretary is William Hague: nerves had jangled over rumours that Nick Clegg might get the job, but Mr Clegg could hardly have overseen his party's role in the coalition government while jetting around the world representing Britain.

Tim Marshall is Sky's foreign editor

    Last updated: 2:05pm, May 13 2010