Johnson: UK still backs 2-state Mideast solution

2017-03-08 22:26
Britain's Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson waves to journalists in the West Bank city of Ramallah. (Nasser Nasser, AP)

Britain's Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson waves to journalists in the West Bank city of Ramallah. (Nasser Nasser, AP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Ramallah - Britain's foreign minister said on Wednesday that his country remains "absolutely" committed to a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and that obstacles to a deal, including accelerated Israeli settlement building, must be removed.

Boris Johnson said he believes it's still possible to set up a state of Palestine alongside Israel and that the leadership change in Washington might offer an opportunity.

"There is a willingness to look at things with fresh eyes," Johnson said after meeting with Palestinian Foreign Minister Riad Malki in the city of Ramallah, the base of the Palestinian autonomy government in the Israeli-occupied West Bank.

President Donald Trump, in a break from his predecessors, has given mixed signals about whether the United States still supports a two-state solution.

His election has emboldened Israeli hard-liners who oppose the establishment of a Palestinian state, while Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu recently stopped short of endorsing the idea.

Palestinians want to establish their state in the West Bank, Gaza Strip and east Jerusalem, lands Israel captured in the 1967 Mideast war.

Israelis and Palestinians have not held meaningful talks since gaps widened with the 2009 election of hard-liner Netanyahu. The Palestinian political split between Western-backed President Mahmoud Abbas and his Islamic militant Hamas rivals has also harmed diplomatic efforts.

Standing next to Malki on a podium, near a "State of Palestine" seal, Johnson said that "the policy of our government in the UK is absolutely unchanged, we remain committed to a two-state solution, to that vision for the resolution of this conflict".

"I really think it is possible," Johnson said. "We must not abandon that prospect."

Israel's ongoing expansion of Jewish settlement on war-won lands has led to growing scepticism about whether a two-state deal remains possible.

Johnson acknowledged the challenges, including "the accelerated pace of settlement building, the accelerated pace of demolitions".

"Those are also the barriers in the path of a two-state solution, and we have to work to remove those barriers," he said.

In November 2015, while mayor of London, Johnson had led a trade mission to the region, but the West Bank segment unravelled after he criticised a Palestinian-led movement of boycott, divestment and sanctions against Israel.

Two of his meetings, with Palestinian youth and female business leaders, were called off at the time in protest over what was perceived as a pro-Israel stance.

Read more on:    boris johnson  |  palestine  |  uk  |  israel  |  middle east peace

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
NEXT ON NEWS24X

Inside News24

 
/World

Book flights

Compare, Book, Fly

Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.