Theresa May to Netanyahu: Britain Is Committed to a Two-state Solution

At the start of their meeting, Netanyahu calls for more sanctions on Iran, which 'seeks to annihilate Israel and to conquer the Middle East.'

Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May greets Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel at Downing Street in London, Monday, Feb. 6, 2017.
Kirsty Wigglesworth/AP

LONDON - British Prime Minister Theresa May told Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the start of a meeting between the two leaders that the U.K. government is committed to a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Netanyahu told May that he shares her desire for peace in the region, but avoided voicing an explicit support of the two-state solution.

Minutes before the meeting, May's spokesman told the British press that the prime minister plans to tell Netanyahu she opposes settlement activity in the West Bank and in East Jerusalem.

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Netanyahu and May's meeting will be their first since May took office in July after her predecessor David Cameron stepped down over the results of the Brexit vote held the previous month. The two leaders are expected to discuss Iran, the war in Syria, the Israeli-Palestinian peace process as well as Israeli-British relations following the Brexit.

Netanyahu meeting with May.

At the start of their meeting, Netanyahu brought up Iran, and said that Tehran seeks to destroy Israel, as it threatens publically. "Iran seeks to annihilate Israel and to conquer the Middle East," Netanyahu said. "It threatens the west and it threatens the world. It makes provocation after provocation. That's why I welcome President Trump's decision to put more sanctions. I think other nations should follow suit. I want to speak with you in order to make sure Iran's aggression doesn't go unanswered."

On the Palestinian issue, Netanyahu did not go into details and only said that Israel shares "your desire for peace and we will never give up the pursuit of peace." Netanyahu however added that "There challenges but also opportunities and I will be happy to discuss them with you."

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Before boarding a flight to London, Netanyahu said on Sunday that Israel is at the beginning of a significant political era. He said that he will stress to May the need for a joint stance against "Iran's defiant aggression with has surfaced in recent days," referring to Iran's ballistic missile test last week.

Netanyahu noted that this is always a necessity, "though especially in light of Iran's latest defiance against the international order."

Netanyahu is also scheduled to meet with Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson.