A day after a brutal attack that saw Islamist terrorists behead an off-duty British soldier, Foreign Secretary William Hague said Thursday that his country’s struggle against terrorism was evocative of some of the challenges faced by Israel.
“We will never give in to terror in the UK,” he said. “We know the importance of defeating terror, something that is well understood here in Israel as well.”
Hague was speaking to the press ahead of a meeting in Jerusalem with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who expressed Israelis’ solidarity with the British people in the wake of the attack.
“We wish to send our condolences to the family and to the British people,” Netanyahu said.
Hague thanked Netanyahu for his message before quoting British Prime Minister Cameron, who earlier in the day vowed to “never give in to terror in the United Kingdom.”
The meeting between the two was also attended by International Affairs Minister Yuval Steinitz and Deputy Foreign Minister Ze’ev Elkin and was set to focus on current events in the Middle East.
In his comments, Netanyahu discussed Iran’s rogue nuclear program, alluding to a recent UN report that said the Iranians have been upping their capacity to enrich uranium.
“It’s clear that, despite economic and diplomatic pressure, the international community has so far been unable to prevent Iran from pursuing its nuclear weapons program,” the prime minister said. “Obviously, this is the biggest challenge facing us. I think it’s the biggest challenge of our times.”
Netanyahu also referenced the ongoing civil war in Syria, which he said was destabilizing the entire region, and US led attempts “to revitalize the peace process” between Israel and the Palestinians.
“I look forward to working with you to achieve these goals of security, peace and stability in our area,” Netanyahu told Hague.
Speaking after the prime minister, the British minister said there was a “whole range of international issues” that merited discussion with Israel, which he said was “an important friend and strategic partner for the United Kingdom.”
Regarding Iran’s nuclear weapons program, Hague said his country pursued “the approach of sanctions and negotiations, but nobody should doubt our resolve in these matters.”
He described Wednesday’s Friends of Syria meet in Jordan, saying Britain, the US and the other nine attendant countries were engaged in an attempt “to make some progress towards a political resolution in Syria.”
Turning to the US-led attempt to kick-start long-stalled peace talks between Jerusalem and Ramallah, Hague said, “We welcome the very strong commitment shown by President [Barack] Obama in his recent visit here, and by Secretary [John] Kerry who is here again. We urge all parties to move the process forward… and avoid steps that are undermining.
“Peace is necessary and just and possible,” he concluded.
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