UK’s Raab hails Abraham Accord in meeting with Mike Pompeo

Agreement creates opportunity for dialogue between the Palestinians and Israelis, says UK foreign minister

British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab speaks at a press conference at the State Department in Washington, DC, on September 16, 2020. / AFP / POOL / NICHOLAS KAMM
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Britain’s Foreign Minister Dominic Raab on Wednesday praised the historic signing of peace accords between the UAE, Bahrain and Israel, after meeting US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in Washington.

Mr Raab said he wanted “to pay particular tribute” to the work of Mr Pompeo and senior White House adviser Jared Kushner in helping to negotiate “important steps towards a peaceful and prosperous Middle East”.

Mr Raab said he and the secretary of state had “a good discussion” on the state of the Middle East peace process and that they believed the accord created an opportunity for dialogue between the Israelis and the Palestinians.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo (R) speaks at a press conference with British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab at the State Department in Washington, DC, on September 16, 2020. / AFP / POOL / NICHOLAS KAMM

The two also discussed Iran, with both agreeing that the country “must never be allowed to obtain a nuclear weapon”.

“We also share the view that the diplomatic door is open to Iran to negotiate a peaceful way forward,” Mr Raab said. “That decision is there for the leadership in Tehran to take.”

The US has clashed with Britain other European allies during its efforts to reimpose sweeping UN sanctions on Iran.

Britain, France, Germany, China and Russia say the US has no legal basis to restore the sanctions under the "snapback" provision of a 2015 deal that curbed Tehran’s nuclear ambitions in exchange for sanctions relief.

Mr Trump withdrew the US from the deal in 2018.

Mr Raab and Mr Pompeo also discussed the poisoning of Russian opposition leader Alexei Navalny, who is recovering in a Berlin hospital.

German medics say it was carried out with the same Novichok nerve agent used against former Russian military intelligence officer Sergei Skripal in England in 2018.

(FILES) In this file photo taken on September 20, 2017 an official looks at the empty chairs of leaders ahead of their participation in an open debate of the United Nations Security Council in New York. The UN Security Council on July 1, 2020 unanimously adopted a resolution calling for a halt to conflicts to facilitate the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic, after more than three months of painstaking negotiations, diplomats said. / AFP / POOL / Stephane LEMOUTON

Mr Raab said the incident was "a major concern" and said the Russian government is "duty bound" to provide an explanation.

The Kremlin has denied any involvement.

As Britain prepares to take over the presidency of the G7 group of nations in 2021, Mr Raab hailed Mr Pompeo’s leadership of the body, particularly in its response to the coronavirus pandemic.

He said the alliance between Britain and the US “will continue to be not just the bedrock of UK foreign policy, but also an even stronger force for good in these uncertain times”.

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