Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and UK Foreign Secretary William Hague, today (Thursday, 23 May 2013), made the following remarks at the start of their meeting:
Prime Minister Netanyahu:
"Secretary Hague, I am pleased to welcome you in Jerusalem.
First, I want to express my solidarity and the solidarity of the people of Israel with the government and people of Britain following this horrific terrorist attack against a British serviceman in London. We wish to send condolences to the family and to the people of Britain.
We’ve experienced such horrors here, and we sympathize deeply. We both are facing this battle against this savagery and this terrorism in our own countries and throughout the world.
The just released report of the International Atomic Energy Agency shows clearly that Iran is continuing to expand its nuclear enrichment program.
In parallel, it’s working on a heavy-water reactor to build a plutonium-based bomb.
So it’s clear that despite the economic and diplomatic pressure, the international community has so far been unable to prevent Iran from pursuing its nuclear weapons program.
Obviously, this is the biggest challenge facing us. I think it’s the biggest challenge of our time, and
I look forward to discussing this with you, as well as the unraveling situation in Syria which is causing horrible human tragedies, but also potentially destabilizing the entire region.
And I also look forward to discussing with you also our efforts right now with Secretary Kerry to revitalize the peace process.
I’m sure these are enough for many meetings. But, put it this way: I think that we have a lot on our plate, and I look forward to working with you to achieve these goals of security, peace and stability in our area and beyond.
Welcome to Jerusalem."
UK Foreign Secretary Hague:
"Thank you very much Prime Minister, Ladies and Gentlemen. Thank you very much indeed, and thank you Prime Minister for your condolences, and those expressed by many other people in Israel today on the terrible murder that happened yesterday in London. As our Prime Minister has said this morning: We will never give in to terror in the United Kingdom, and we know the importance of defeating terrorism. That is well understood here in Israel as well.
I’m looking forward to discussing with the Prime Minister the whole range of international issues including all of the issues that he has just mentioned. Israel is an important friend and strategic partner for the United Kingdom and we are strongly committed, as you know, to the security of Israel. I look forward to discussing with the Prime Minister our cooperation in that area, including the very strong concerns that we have of about the nuclear program of Iran. We pursue the approach of sanctions and negotiations but nobody should doubt our resolve in these matters. And it is important that we discuss the latest reports and developments today and of course we must discuss the crisis in Syria. I’ve come from meetings in Jordan with Secretary Kerry and the foreign ministers of nine other nations and with the Syrian National Coalition, as we attempt to make some progress to a political resolution in Syria.
And of course the Middle East peace process is also an urgent priority for the United Kingdom and the world and we welcome the very strong commitment shown by President Obama on his recent visit here and by Secretary Kerry who is here again showing once again his great energy and commitment on this issue.
So my visit is in support of those efforts and to discuss the contribution and assistance the United Kingdom can provide. We urge all parties to move the process forward and to really give the bold and decisive leadership that will allow success to happen and avoid steps that undermine it.
And I welcome Prime Minister Netanyahu’s clear commitment to a two-state solution and to work to achieve peace. We think, as President said two months ago, peace is necessary and just and possible. And so I look forward to discussing all of those issues with the Prime Minister and his colleagues today."
Minister Yuval Steinitz and Deputy Foreign Minister Ze'ev Elkin also attended the meeting.