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May stresses UK support for two-state solution in Downing Street talks with Netanyahu

British Prime Minister also reiterates backing for Iran nuclear deal

    Prime Minister Theresa May and Israeli leader Benjamin Netanyahu in talks on Thursday
    Prime Minister Theresa May and Israeli leader Benjamin Netanyahu in talks on Thursday Photo: AP

    Britain remains committed both to a two-state solution in the Middle East and the Iranian nuclear deal, Theresa May told Benjamin Netanyahu at a Downing Street meeting on Thursday.

    The Israeli Prime Minister met his UK counterpart as part of his London visit marking the 100th anniversary of the Balfour Declaration.

    Speaking before the meeting began, Ms May said: “I'm sure we will want to be talking about the peace process in the Middle East.

    “I also want to talk about what we see as some of the barriers and some of the difficulties like the illegal settlements in relation to that peace process.”

    The two leaders are expected to attend a private event this evening to commemorate Balfour, the UK Foreign Secretary who in 1917 signalled British support for the creation of a Jewish homeland in Palestine.

    Ms May also reiterated British support for the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran, which Mr Netanyahu and US President Donald Trump have both criticised.

    But the Israeli prime minister said his aim was to alter the deal, not to cancel it.

    “The threat we all see is a resurgent Iran that is bent not only on dominating the region but bent on developing nuclear weapons,” he said.

    “The goal that I have in mind is not keeping or eliminating the deal, it is improving the deal and correcting its main flaws.

    “I think those that want to keep the deal should co-operate on correcting the deal.”

    On the Middle East, Mr Netanyahu called on the Palestinians to “finally accept a Jewish national home and finally accept a Jewish state.

    “And when they do, the road to peace will be infinitely closer. In my opinion peace will be achievable.”

    Meanwhile a letter signed by 100 Conservative MPs and peers was published in the Telegraph to mark the centenary.

    The parliamentarians wrote that it was "fitting that the democratically elected leader of the world’s only Jewish state" was joining Mrs May in London for the "landmark moment in our two nations' history".

    They added: "At less than 70 years old, Israel has become one of modern history’s most remarkable success stories - a thriving democracy and a high-tech powerhouse.

    "As the architects of the Balfour Declaration, the UK retains a key role to play in the Middle East peace process and we hope that in this centennial year we can finally see progress towards a lasting two-state solution that guarantees security and dignity for the Israeli and Palestinian people."

    Signatories included a series of former ministers and senior Conservative figures, including Baroness Neville-Jones, Lord Trimble and Lord Tebbit.

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