Press release

Meeting with President Abbas

This news article was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

The Prime Minister met Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in Downing Street earlier today.

A Downing Street spokesperson said:

The Prime Minister met Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas in Downing Street earlier today. He applauded the leadership that President Abbas and Prime Minister Netanyahu had shown in restarting direct peace talks and said that the UK was ready to do everything it could to help the Palestinians and Israelis achieve a lasting peace.

The Prime Minister reiterated the UK’s commitment to a two-state solution which would see a Palestinian state based on the 1967 borders living side-by-side and at peace with a safe and secure Israel with Jerusalem their shared capital. The Prime Minister also emphasised that both sides must avoid anything which made progress more difficult. He said that UK would strongly oppose unilateral provocations on either side and would continue its strong opposition to Israeli settlement activity in the Palestinian Territories.

Statements from leaders

At the start of the meeting the Prime Minister and the President made the following statements.

Prime Minister

Well, I’m delighted to welcome President Abbas to Number Ten Downing Street. It’s very good to have these discussions again. A warm welcome. Britain is a strong supporter of the two-state solution. We remain of the view that that is the right answer for peace and stability between the Palestinian people and Israel.

I want to commend your bravery for entering these talks, and the bravery of Prime Minister Netanyahu as well. We want these talks to succeed. We’ll do everything we can to help.

We obviously want to make sure that those things that could derail or upset the talks don’t happen, and that applies, I think, to both sides in the talks. Obviously, on the issue of settlements, Britain has a long-standing policy. Of course, we passionately defend the right of Israel to exist within secure borders and have peace with her neighbours, but we don’t believe that it’s right to have this illegal settlement activity, and we’ve made that point many times, and we’ll always go on doing so, as I did in the House of Commons today.

But a warm welcome. Look forward to these discussions, and Britain stands ready to help in any way we can. Thank you.

President Abbas

Thank you. I would like to thank you, Prime Minister, for affording us this opportunity to meet you, and finding the time to have this meeting here. I do remember our last meeting, which took place 20 months ago, and previous meetings as well, which have been very constructive. I too share your hopes that the negotiations will continue and that nothing will form a setback to the negotiations, and they will continue till the end.

We have nine months more to go, and I hope that we will reach an agreement to have a Palestinian independent state that will give security side by side – peace and security side by side with Israel. We would like to thank you very much, Prime Minister, for all the assistance that you have given us in building the institutions – in building the future institution of this future state.

And we would also like to thank you very much for your support to the European guidelines related to the Israeli settlements, which will help us a lot indeed, and which will also be implemented as of January 2014. And I consider this opportunity to have the negotiations as a rare one and a precious one. We must preserve this, and we mustn’t let it go.

Thank you.