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Israeli foreign minister in London to press positions on Iranian threat

Eli Cohen will sign an agreement with his British counterpart with a view to “strengthening the bilateral relationship with one of Israel’s greatest allies.”

Israeli Foreign Minister Eli Cohen holds a meeting in London during a visit aimed at pressing Jerusalem's position on the Iranian threat and bolstering bilateral economic ties, March 21, 2023. Credit: Israeli Foreign Ministry.
Israeli Foreign Minister Eli Cohen holds a meeting in London during a visit aimed at pressing Jerusalem's position on the Iranian threat and bolstering bilateral economic ties, March 21, 2023. Credit: Israeli Foreign Ministry.

Israeli Foreign Minister Eli Cohen landed in London on Tuesday for a visit aimed at pressing Jerusalem’s position on the Iranian threat and bolstering bilateral economic ties.

“I have just landed in the U.K. on an important visit. I will meet with my counterpart, British Foreign Secretary [James] Cleverly, and discuss with him ways to prevent Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons,” Cohen wrote on Twitter.

“I’m also leading a delegation of fintech companies, with the aim of strengthening economic ties between the countries. Together with the foreign secretary, I will sign an agreement strengthening the bilateral relationship with one of Israel’s greatest allies,” he added.

According to the British Foreign Office, the 2030 Roadmap for U.K.-Israeli Bilateral Relations “contains detailed commitments for deepening cooperation across the breadth of the Israel-U.K. relationship, including on trade, cyber, science and tech, research and development, security, health, climate and gender.”

On Tuesday morning, Cohen participated in a memorial ceremony for former Israeli Ambassador to the U.K. Shlomo Argov, who was severely wounded in a Palestinian terror attack in 1982.

The attack, which was carried out in London by the Abu Nidal terror group, paralyzed Argov from the neck down, and was one of the proximate causes for the IDF’s Operation Peace for Galilee in Lebanon.

“Terrorism has struck our representatives more than once, but we will not give up, we will continue to stand with determination against evil for the State of Israel,” said Cohen at the event.

He is also slated to meet with members of the local Jewish community before flying to Warsaw, Poland.

With respect to Iran, U.K. Security Minister Tom Tugendhat confirmed late last month that Tehran was “mapping” Jewish leaders.

“Between 2020 and 2022, Iran tried to collect intelligence on Israeli and U.K.-based Jewish individuals,” said Tugendhat before the House of Commons. “We believe this information was a preparation for future lethal operations.”

He added that since 2022, authorities have foiled 15 credible Iranian threats to kill or kidnap people in the United Kingdom.

Later this year, British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak intends to visit Israel to mark the country’s 75th birthday.

Sunak spoke in January with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who thanked him for London’s vote against a U.N. General Assembly resolution calling on the International Court of Justice to “render urgently an advisory opinion” on Israel’s “prolonged occupation, settlement and annexation of Palestinian territory.”

Netanyahu also commended Britain’s intention to declare Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps a terrorist organization, stressing the importance Jerusalem ascribes to advancing the issue.

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