Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu Meets with UK Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson
(Communicated by the Prime Minister's Media Adviser)
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, today (Wednesday, 8 March 2017), at the Prime Minister's Office in Jerusalem, met with UK Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson.
Prime Minister Netanyahu:
"I had a wonderful meeting in London, a good meeting with Prime Minister May and with you. I look forward to coming to London for the hundredth anniversary of the Balfour Declaration, and also to celebrate the great partnership between us. We are enhancing our cooperation in economics, in technology, in security, in cooperation in the field of cyber, in many, many other areas. And we also seek a world that’s secure and peaceful, and I look forward to discussing both of these things with you."
UK Foreign Secretary Johnson:
"I first visited when I was – as I never tire of telling you – when I was 18 and worked in a kibbutz and made a not-very-substantial contribution to the Israeli economy back then.
All I want to say is, of course, our government in the UK, Theresa May and I and all our government are, as you know, firm, strong supporters, rock-like supporters of Israel. And what we want is to see an Israel that is at peace with its neighbors. And I should remind you that the policy of our government is for a two-state solution, which is what we want to achieve and hope to help to bring about in a modest and humble way. And obviously there are… We want to help remove the obstacles to that solution. Israel has a, first and foremost, an absolute right to live in security and the people of Israel deserve to be safe from terrorism. That’s our absolute priority and we work with you, as you know, in all kinds of ways to ensure the stability of the entire region. And of course, we must also try to remove obstacles to peace and progress, such as the settlements, which you and I have discussed before.
But, I think and I know that you agree with this, I think there is an opportunity now. I think things have changed in the world. I know that you’re flying around a great deal and talking to people across the world. I do think there’s a chance to look at this issue afresh. And what we want to emphasize is that we are not only here to help, but we are, as you know, building a global identity as a Britain that’s coming out of the EU and we want to build on our trading partnership with you. We are the biggest European trading partner with Israel. I think I am right in saying that we have the largest, fastest growing Aston Martin dealership anywhere in the world here in Israel. And we’ve done some fantastic export deals with you in the last few months.
But you are also huge contributors to the UK economy. So I’m very pleased that one of the things that you agreed with our prime minister, Theresa May, was to set up a working group so that we could go forward together towards a new free trade agreement, and that’s what we will achieve."
Prime Minister Netanyahu:
"Well, obviously I look forward to doing that. It’s evident that we agree on most things, but not on all things. And one of the things, I think the source of it when you analyze a problem, get to its roots and reason the we haven’t had peace for a hundred years is not the settlements, but the persistent refusal to recognize a nation-state for the Jewish people in any boundary. I think if you want to solve a problem, go to the core of the problem, and that is something I look forward to discussing with you further. I think we should get going. Thank you. Welcome, Boris."