British-Israeli strategic talks suspended 3Nov10 November 4, 2010
Britain and Israel hold strategic dialogue annually to discuss security issues and bilateral relations.
This year’s strategic dialogue meeting, which had been expected to take place in Britain last month, did not happen, a diplomatic source said. A spokesman for Prime Minister David Cameron’s office, however, refused to comment on the issue, saying, “We don’t talk about strategic dialogue. It’s a sensitive issue.”
“The strategic dialogue has indeed been postponed,” said Israeli foreign ministry spokesman Yigal Palmor shortly after William Hague arrived for his first visit to the occupied Palestinian territories since taking over as Britain’s Foreign Secretary.
Iran’s peaceful nuclear program and the deadlock in Israeli-Palestinian talks are topics to be discussed in Hague’s visit to the occupied territories.
“The visit by Foreign Minister Hague is an important phase in the ongoing exchange between the countries and the question of Israeli officials being unable to travel to Britain will be on the top of the agenda as far as we are concerned,” Palmor said.
Meanwhile, Hague told the daily Yediot Aharonot in Tel Aviv that “it would be prudent for Israeli officials to wait for the law to be amended before visiting Britain.”
“I think it would be wise to first pass this law and then invite them,” he told the paper.
Earlier this week, Israeli Regime’s Intelligence Minister Dan Meridor was forced to cancel a trip to London over concerns of being arrested in connection with Zionist army’s deadly attack on a Gaza-bound aid flotilla in May.
Israeli regime has been pushing for Britain to amend the legislation for five years after a number of high-profile political and military authorities were forced to cancel visits over arrest fears.
In January, former Labor Party’s Prime Minister Gordon Brown pledged to change the law after Israeli opposition leader Tzipi Livni, who was foreign minister during the 2008-9 Israeli-imposed war on Gaza, cancelled a trip to London after a warrant for her arrest was issued, provoking a diplomatic spat.
According to British Judiciary rules and regulations, the courts in the UK enjoy “universal jurisdiction” to issue arrest warrants against individuals, including visiting foreign diplomats and politicians, accused of war crimes.