Israel expanding ME ties | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, December 07, 2017 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:03 AM, December 07, 2017

Israel expanding ME ties

Says Netanyahu, accuses Iran of trying to dominate the region; Britain urges US to reveal peace plan for ME

Israel is expanding ties throughout the Middle East but not with Iran, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said yesterday, accusing his country's arch-foe of trying to dominate the region.

Addressing a Jerusalem diplomatic conference, Netanyahu said Israel has relations "with nearly every single one" of nations that do not formally recognise it, due to their growing need for its economic and security expertise, reported Reuters.

"See that country in red? By the way that's not on our list of diplomatic allies," he said, pointing to Iran on a regional map. He deemed Iran an "aggressive regime" seeking nuclear arms and a "land bridge" via its allies to the Mediterranean sea.

He refrained from commenting on US President Donald Trump's intention to recognise Jerusalem as Israel's capital in his first speech since the plan was confirmed.

Meanwhile, Britain's Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson warned yesterday that President Donald Trump's plan to recognise Jerusalem as Israel's capital underlines the urgency of a new US-led Middle East peace plan.

Johnson was speaking alongside US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson on the sidelines of a Nato ministerial meeting in Brussels ahead of a bilateral meeting, reported AFP.

"We'll have to wait and see what the president says," Johnson told reporters, hours before Trump was expected to announce that the US will recognise Jerusalem as Israel's capital and begin preparations to move its embassy there.

"But clearly this is a decision that makes it more important than ever that the long-awaited American proposals on the Middle East peace process are now brought forward and I would say that that should happen as a matter of priority," Johnson said.

Tillerson said Trump is "very committed" to the Middle East peace process. He said the US believes "there is a very good opportunity for peace to be achieved" between Israel and the Palestinians, despite international outcry over Trump's decision on Jerusalem.

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