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British PM Addresses Israeli Parliament

posted 12 Mar 2014, 09:45 by Mpelembe Admin   [ updated 12 Mar 2014, 09:45 ]

British Prime Minister David Cameron tells Knesset Israel is not the cause of the shadow that Iran casts over the world.

JERUSALEM (MARCH 12, 2014)  (CH99) -  British Prime Minister David Cameron on Wednesday (March 12) issued a stark warning to Iran not to misuse it nuclear programme, using a visit to Jerusalem to voice his support for Israel and for U.S.-led Middle East peace talks.

Speaking before the Israeli parliament, Cameron denounced Iran's "despotic regime" and accusedTehran of making "despicable" efforts to arm Palestinian militants.

On his first visit to Israel since taking power in 2010, Cameron said he would battle any attempt to delegitimise Israel and made only passing reference to Jewish settlements on occupied lands that Palestinians say are hindering peace.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has denounced an interim nuclear deal signed with Tehranlast November that allowed an easing of some sanctions. He has also repeatedly condemned the possibility that a future deal might allow Iran to retain some technologies that have bomb-making potential.

"As long as the international pressure is aimed only at Israel the Palestinians will continue to stand steadfast to their positions I will even say to you, they will harden their positions, and there will be no progress toward peace. That will be bad for us, and bad for the Palestinians. Because time is running out, also for them. The international pressure must also continue on Iran," he said.

The British leader is due to spend just two days in the region and hold separate talks with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas.

His speech to the Knesset was staunchly pro-Israeli and he delighted his hosts with his tough comments on Iran, which came as international powers, including Britain, have engaged Tehran in negotiations to curb its contested nuclear ambitions.

However he said global tensions around Iran were likely to persist even if the peace process proved successful.

"Israel is not the cause of the shadow that Iran casts over the world. There is no rule that says that ifIsrael and Palestinians make peace, Iran is somehow going to dismantle it's despotic regime or abandon it's nuclear intentions. That can only be done through sustained international pressure," said Cameron.

Britain has strengthened its diplomatic ties with Tehran in recent months, appointing a non-resident charge d'affaires in November, but Cameron had harsh words for Iran over the seizure last week byIsrael of a ship carrying a cargo of rockets.

Israel said the Syrian-made missiles had been supplied by Iran and were intended for Palestinian militants in the Gaza Strip. Iran has denied the accusations.

Cameron said it was "yet another despicable attempt by the Iranians to smuggle more long-range rockets into Gaza."

The timing of the brief visit is designed to allow Cameron to try and press both Israel and Palestine into agreeing to a framework for peace talks that U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry is looking to draw up.

The U.S. efforts to revive the moribund peace process were launched in July last year and Kerry has set an April target for an initial accord on the principles of talks.

Cameron said he would seek to encourage both Netanyahu and Abbas to sign up to the framework.


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