Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 29 October 2020

UK to push for renewed dialogue between Israel and the Palestinians

Foreign Minister Dominic Raab to press Palestinian leadership to pursue negotiations

Dominic Raab says direct talks between Israel and the Palestinians is 'the only route to lasting peace'. Reuters
Dominic Raab says direct talks between Israel and the Palestinians is 'the only route to lasting peace'. Reuters

Britain’s foreign minister will use an upcoming visit to Israel and the Palestinian territories to push for a renewed dialogue following the landmark accord between the UAE and Israel.

Dominic Raab is due to make an official visit to the region this week and will meet Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.

The Abraham Accord opened the way for the normalisation of ties between the UAE and Israel and was hailed as a chance to revive the peace process with the Palestinians after bringing a halt to Israeli plans to annex Palestinian lands.

Ahead of his visit, Mr Raab said Britain “remains committed to Israel’s security and stability, and the recent normalisation of relations between Israel and the UAE was an important moment for the region”.

“Israel’s suspension of annexation is an essential step towards a more peaceful Middle East,” he said. “It is important to build on this new dynamic, and ultimately only the government of Israel and the Palestinian Authority can negotiate the two state solution required to secure lasting peace.”

Mr Raab will meet his Israeli opposite number Gabi Ashkenazi and Defence Minister Benny Gantz before meeting Mr Netanyahu to reiterate Britain’s commitment to Israel’s security.

In Ramallah, Mr Raab will meet President Abbas and Prime Minister Mohammed Shtayyeh and reaffirm Britain’s opposition to annexation. He will also call on the Palestinian leaders to resume co-operation with Israel and pursue negotiations.

Israeli and UAE flags line a road in the Israeli coastal city of Netanya. AFP
Israeli and UAE flags line a road in the Israeli coastal city of Netanya. AFP

Britain had condemned Israel’s planned annexation of Palestinian lands as illegal under international law.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson called the UAE and Israel’s decision to normalise relations “hugely good news”, adding that it was his “profound hope” that the planned annexation did not go ahead.

Mr Raab has called direct talks between Israel and the Palestinians “the only route to lasting peace”.

Updated: August 24, 2020 02:39 PM

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