Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab will meet Israeli and Palestinian leaders this week as he stressed the importance of building on a “new dynamic” in efforts to achieve a more peaceful Middle East.
Mr Raab will visit Israel and occupied Palestinian territories for talks with senior figures, including Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.
His trip comes little more than a week after Israel halted its planned annexation of parts of the occupied West Bank and established diplomatic ties with the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
Ahead of his visit, the foreign secretary said: “The UK remains committed to Israel’s security and stability, and the recent normalisation of relations between Israel and the UAE was an important moment for the region.
“Israel’s suspension of annexation is an essential step towards a more peaceful Middle East.
“It is important to build on this new dynamic, and ultimately only the government of Israel and the Palestinian Authority can negotiate the two-state solution required to secure lasting peace.”
Mr Raab will push for renewed dialogue between Israeli and Palestinian leaders and reinforce the UK’s commitment to preventing annexation and pursuing a negotiated two-state solution.
As well as meeting Mr Netanyahu in Israel, Mr Raab will also hold talks with Israeli foreign minister Gabi Ashkenazi and defence minister and Alternate Prime Minister Benny Gantz.
He will also meet Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Prime Minister Mohammed Shtayyeh in Ramallah, during which he will call on them to resume cooperation with Israel and pursue direct talks.
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Earlier this month, US President Donald Trump announced the normalisation of relations between the UAE and Israel following a deal struck between Mr Netanyahu and Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed al Nahyan.
The agreement will see Israel backing down from “unilateral annexation” of areas of the occupied West Bank – land sought by the Palestinians for their future state.
Israel signed peace agreements with Egypt in 1979 and Jordan in 1994 but the UAE – along with most other Arab nations – did not recognise Israel and had no formal diplomatic or economic relations with the country until this month.
However, Mr Abbas last week described the deal as “nonsense” and accused the UAE of turning its back on Palestinians.