Prime Minister Boris Johnson today welcomed Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to 10 Downing Street as part of his “lightning visit” to London.
Mr Netanyahu landed at Heathrow airport this morning where he was greeted by Israel’s Ambassador to the UK, H.E. Mark Regev, before meeting the Prime Minister on the steps of Downing Street just after midday.
In one of Mr Johnson’s first visits by a foreign head of Government, the two leaders discussed regional security in Israel, defence cooperation, trade, and Iran. Mr Netanyahu also took the opportunity to thank Mr Johnson for his support of Israel and robust stance against antisemitism.
Upon arrival at Number 10 Mr Netanyahu said: “Boris, it’s always a pleasure to see you, but especially now in your role as Prime Minister. I want to say that you’ve been a great friend of the Jewish people and Israel”.
He added: “I applaud your staunch stance against antisemitism and your support for Israel’s security. Our relations are at an all-time high: economically, trade technology, defence cooperation. These are all great things”.
Mr Netanyahu said: “It’s not that we lack challenges. We have the challenge of Iran’s aggression and terrorism, and I’d like to talk to you about how we can work together to counter these things for the benefit of peace. And I want to thank you for this opportunity to do so”.
Following the meeting, a Downing Street spokesperson said: “The two leaders confirmed their commitment to a strong UK-Israel relationship, including through trade, cooperation on intelligence and security and cultural links between the two countries”.
The statement added that “both Prime Ministers agreed on the need to prevent Iran getting a nuclear weapon and stop wider destabilising Iranian behaviour. The Prime Minister stressed the need for dialogue and a diplomatic solution”.
The Prime Ministers also discussed the Middle East Peace Process and Prime Minister Johnson said “that he looks forward to seeing the US Administration’s detailed proposals for a viable Israel-Palestinian peace agreement that addresses the legitimate concerns of both parties”.
After his visit to Number 10, the Israeli Prime Minister met the UK Secretary of State for Defence, Ben Wallace MP, to discuss matters of national security.
Whilst in the UK, Israel’s Prime Minister is also scheduled to meet the new US Defence Secretary, Mark Esper, who is currently visiting London.