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Netanyahu stresses Iran threat to UK foreign secretary 

The two leaders, who met in Jerusalem, also discussed strengthening mutual cooperation in the fields of technology, finance and artificial intelligence.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu meets with U.K. Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs James Cleverly at the Prime Minister's Office in Jerusalem, Monday, Sept. 11, 2023. Photo: Kobi Gideon/GPO.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu meets with U.K. Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs James Cleverly at the Prime Minister's Office in Jerusalem, Monday, Sept. 11, 2023. Photo: Kobi Gideon/GPO.

Israel’s prime minister on Monday emphasized to U.K. Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs James Cleverly the urgency of tackling Iran’s nuclear program.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who hosted Cleverly at his office in Jerusalem, said it was of “paramount importance” that Iran be prevented from acquiring nuclear capabilities, according to an official statement.

He also voiced the need to counter Iran’s ongoing efforts to destabilize not only the region but the world at large.

During the meeting, the two leaders also delved into the realms of technology, economy, and, notably, artificial intelligence. Both expressed a mutual interest in strengthening cooperation in these domains.

“We’re two of the like-minded, smart countries. The world belongs to those who innovate. We’re innovation nations. We’re democracies, strong and vibrant and cooperative. And that’s great. I welcome you here,” said Netanyahu ahead of the meeting.

According to a spokesperson for the U.K. FCDO, “The Foreign Secretary emphasized the strength of our bilateral relationship and welcomed the free trade negotiations underway.”

Cleverly also addressed the Netanyahu government’s controversial judicial reform push, according to the spokesman.

The U.K. foreign secretary “underlined the importance of the U.K. and Israel’s shared democratic values that underpin our strategic partnership and encouraged Prime Minister Netanyahu to seek any judicial reform through the achievement of the broadest possible consensus,” the spokesman said.

Cleverly also reaffirmed the United Kingdom’s support for Israel’s right to defend itself “in line with international law” and expressed London’s solidarity with Israel in the wake of recent terrorist attacks against Israeli civilians.

He also outlined his concern with “ongoing tensions in the Occupied Palestinian Territories, and the importance of both Israelis and Palestinians taking meaningful action to de-escalate tensions, including by addressing settler violence,” according to the spokesperson.

Among those in attendance during Monday’s meeting were Israel’s Strategic Affairs Minister, National Security Council directory, National Public Diplomacy Directorate head, as well as the prime minister’s military secretary, and the ambassadors of both Israel and the United Kingdom.

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