Netanyahu visits London amid new ‘diplomatic opportunities’

Netanyahu visits London amid new ‘diplomatic opportunities’

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday said he plans to take advantage of the new “diplomatic opportunities’’ starting with a meeting with British Prime Minister Theresa May.

With the new administration in the U.S. in mind, Netanyahu will “speak with both of them about tightening relations, between each side and Israel, and trilaterally,’’ he said before leaving for London.

Netanyahu’s first face-to-face meeting with May and British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson comes a week before the Israeli premier is expected to go to Washington to meet U.S. President Donald Trump.

Netanyahu also reiterated the need for the U.S., Israel and Britain to work together to stand up against Iran’s “extraordinary aggression’’ and vowed that it would be the first item he would discuss with May.

May and Netanyahu are also expected to discuss Israel’s recently announced plans to build more than 5,000 settlement units in the West Bank.

Tobias Ellwood, Britain’s minister for the Middle East, on Tuesday condemned the plans, saying they endanger a two-state solution.

Israel’s parliament is expected to pass a bill on Monday night to retroactively legalise settlements in the West Bank, though it’s unlikely to make it past Israel’s Supreme Court if passed.

Netanyahu reportedly has requested that the Knesset hold off on the bill until after his planned meeting with Trump on Feb. 15.

Iran has been testing rockets and holding ballistic missile tests in recent weeks, prompting the U.S. Treasury department to impose fresh sanctions against 25 Iranian individuals and companies on Friday.

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