Their meeting focused on the status of negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians and shared concerns over the threat posed by Iran’s attempts to obtain a nuclear weapons capability.
(Communicated by the Deputy Foreign Minister’s Bureau)
On Sunday (16 January), Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon and UK Minister for the Middle East Alistair Burt held a productive meeting at the home of British Ambassador to Israel Matthew Gould. They discussed regional developments, including the latest events in Tunisia and Lebanon.
Their meeting also focused on the status of negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians and the need for both sides to restart talks at the earliest opportunity.
The ministers also discussed shared concerns over the threat posed by Iran’s attempts to obtain a nuclear weapons capability and the need for international cooperation to urgently address this and the ongoing battle against terrorism. Minister Burt updated Deputy Foreign Minister Ayalon on the united approach of the International Community as they approach talks in Istanbul later this week.
In addition, Minister Burt updated Deputy Minister Ayalon on the progress of the bill recently introduced into Parliament that will correct the anomaly in the law on universal jurisdiction and prevent groundless and politicized applications for arrest warrants against visiting officials, including those from Israel. Deputy Foreign Minister Ayalon thanked the British government for its stance against the BDS movement and called for a continuation of this policy.
The meeting is a further example of the breadth and intensity of bilateral relations between the UK and Israel. Minister Burt is in Israel on a five-day visit to the region, where he will also meet with Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman and other senior Israeli officials. The ministers also discussed key elements of the bilateral relationship, including flourishing trade ties and new initiatives to strength academic and scientific links.
Deputy Minister Danny Ayalon said that he had discussed a range of issues with Minister Burt. "I reiterated to Minister Burt the need for the international community to exert pressure on the Palestinians to return to the negotiating table. If the Palestinians would use one tenth of the energy for the peace process that they are exerting pressing for unilateral recognition and anti-Israel United Nations resolutions we could have arrived at an agreement by now," he said after the meeting.
Speaking after the meeting Minister Burt said: "Having visited Israel many times in the past, I am delighted to be visiting today for the first time as Minister for the Middle East to further strengthen the deep friendship between the UK and Israel. Deputy Minister Ayalon and I had productive meeting today that emphasized our close partnership on bilateral and regional issues. We discussed a range of things including the urgent need to find a way to move forward on the peace process."