Britain's PM to address Israeli settlement-building in Netanyahu meeting

Britain's PM to address Israeli settlement-building in Netanyahu meeting
British Prime Minister Theresa May and her Israeli counterpart Binyamin Netanyahu will meet on Monday to discuss Iran, the Middle East peace process and settlement building, the two governments said.
2 min read
02 February, 2017
Theresa May will raise concerns with Israel's illegal settlement building with PM Netanyahu [Getty]
British Prime Minister Theresa May will raise concerns over Israel's settlement building in talks with her counterpart Binyamin Netanyahu in London on Monday.

The leaders are also set to discuss the Middle East peace process, May's office said.

Meanwhile Netanyahu said in a speech to settlers in the occupied West Bank that he would be raising the subject of Israel's archfoe Iran.

"I shall discuss with her the changing reality in our region and the need to adopt new and shared approaches to the great threats in our region, chief among them the threat of Iran," he said.

Netanyahu is a fierce opponent of the nuclear deal with world powers, including Britain, in which Iran pledged to curb its nuclear programme in return for sanctions relief.

US President Donald Trump on Thursday said Iran was now formally "on notice" after a recent missile test.

A spokeswoman for May said the two leaders would "talk about a range of security and international issues, including the Middle East peace process."

She said the prime minister would raise Britain's concern about how the "continued increase of settlements activity undermines trust".

There has been a sharp acceleration in Israeli settlement expansion plans since Trump took office last month, with more than 6,000 new homes announced in less than a fortnight.

British Minister for the Middle East Tobias Ellwood warned on Wednesday that the plans made the two-state solution "much harder to achieve".

Britain voted in favour of a UN Security Council resolution passed in December demanding a halt to settlement construction. The vote prompted Israel to temporarily scale back relations.

But Britain refused to sign the final statement of a Middle East peace conference held in Paris last month that was strongly opposed by Israel.

It said it had "particular reservations" about the meeting taking place without Israeli or Palestinian representatives.

A protest against Netanyahu's visit has been organised by the Palestine Solidarity Campaign to be held at Downing Street on Monday.