Netanyahu to hold talks with May

Big 5

Theresa May is to host Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for talks in Downing Street later.

Discussions are expected to cover increasing trading relations between the UK and Israel after Brexit.

May is also expected to restate concerns over settlement building in the West Bank, with Netanyahu urging a common front against Iran, after it test-fired a ballistic missile.

It is the first time the two leaders have met in person.

They spoke by telephone after May became prime minister last year.

The UK backed a United Nations Security Council resolution in December denouncing Israel’s settlements in occupied Palestinian territory as a flagrant violation of international law and a major obstacle to a just and lasting peace.

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn said: “Theresa May must make clear to the Israeli prime minister that the British government will stand unequivocally behind the rights of the Palestinian people, along with the many who support them in Israel, as well as human rights and justice across the region.”

May’s official spokesman has said that Monday’s talks will cover a range of security and international issues, including the Middle East peace process, adding that” “the continued increase in settlement activity undermines trust.”

The U.S. has imposed sanctions on Iran following the testing of a missile, reportedly a medium-range ballistic missile, last month.

The UK was one of the signatories to the 2015 international agreement by which Iran agreed to curb its nuclear programme in return for the lifting of economic sanctions.

But while May has described it as vital for the security of the region, Netanyahu has stated that he regards it as a bad deal which will do nothing to halt Tehran’s nuclear ambitions.

Before leaving Israel for his UK visit, Netanyahu said: “In the diplomatic sphere, I intend to emphasise the need for a common front against Iran’s defiant aggression which has raised its head in recent days.”

With Brexit negotiations expected to begin as soon as April this year, the UK government says it is beginning unofficial talks with countries outside the European Union on promoting future trade.

This is expected to form part of Monday’s discussions.

Source: BBC