British Foreign Secretary James Cleverly has stressed the importance of advancing the Arab initiative and the two-state solution as the Israel-Hamas war continues in the Gaza Strip.
In an interview with Asharq Al-Awsat in Riyadh on Thursday, Cleverly emphasized serious work to prevent the war in Gaza from turning into a regional conflict.
Cleverly pointed to his meetings with the foreign ministers of Saudi Arabia, Lebanon and Jordan, and his earlier talks with Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir Abdollahian, saying that all discussions revolved around trying to stop the war from spreading to neighboring countries.
He said he told his Iranian counterpart about the necessity for Iran to use its influence on Hezbollah, the Houthis and the militias in Iraq and Syria to refrain from exploiting the ongoing war in Gaza to create more violence in Iraq and the region.
Asked about the British position on the developments in Gaza, Cleverly stressed that his country respects and supports Israel’s right to defend itself.
He added that Britain wanted to see Israel safe and secure, and the Palestinian people safe. In this context, he noted that the best means to achieve this goal was the implementation of the two-state solution.
On the ways to invest in the strategic relationship between Saudi Arabia and Britain to help find a solution to the conflict, Cleverly said that he discussed with his Saudi counterpart, Prince Faisal bin Farhan, the Arab Peace Initiative and the Oslo Accords, as well as efforts to ensure that the killings of Oct. 7 and the loss of life in Gaza are not repeated.
According to the British diplomat, the UK believes that the best way to achieve this end is to work towards a peaceful two-state solution.
Asked to comment on a statement by an Israeli minister about throwing a nuclear bomb on Gaza, Cleverly underlined that such remarks were completely wrong and inappropriate. He said that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu immediately dismissed the minister as he did not agree to these comments.
The British diplomat noted that his recent talks with Arab officials touched on the Arab Peace Initiative. He added that the UK would work with its partners, the peace partners in the Palestinian leadership, Israel and the Arab world, to try to achieve peace in the region.
Cleverly went on to say that the only way to achieve peace is when Israel feels that it is no longer threatened by Gaza.
He stressed that it was unfortunate to see the Hamas leadership openly threatening to commit mass murder, as happened on Oct. 7.
The British diplomat highlighted the necessity to replace what he called aggressive and violent people in leadership with persons committed to peace.
Cleverly concluded by saying that his country was working seriously to prevent the war in Gaza from turning into a regional conflict.