Corbyn slams Johnson government’s ‘contradictory’ stance on Trump peace plan

The leader of the UK’s opposition Jeremy Corbyn has criticized Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s “contradictory” stance on the Middle East peace plan revealed by US President Donald Trump last month. (Reuters)
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Updated 18 February 2020

Corbyn slams Johnson government’s ‘contradictory’ stance on Trump peace plan

  • Corbyn said Johnson’s stance on the deal “flew in the face of reality”
  • Outgoing Labour Party leader tweeted letter sent to him from UK PM

LONDON: The leader of the UK’s opposition Jeremy Corbyn has slammed Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s “contradictory” stance on the Middle East peace plan revealed by US President Donald Trump last month.

The outgoing Labour Party leader tweeted on Monday a letter sent to him earlier this month from Johnson in which the prime minister said the plan should be given “genuine and fair consideration.”

In the days after the deal was announced in January, Johnson backed the plan, saying during a call with Trump that it “could prove a positive step forward” in the Israeli-Palestinian issue and benefit the wider region.

But in his response to a letter from Corbyn, which raised concerns about the plan immediately after its unveiling, Johnson said the UK government’s position on the conflict remained unchanged.

Despite Trump’s plan allowing Israeli annexation of key parts of the West Bank, including the Jordan Valley, Johnson wrote: “The UK’s position on Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank is clear and has not changed. These settlements are illegal under international law, present an obstacle to peace, and threaten the physical viability of a two-state solution.”

Part of Trump’s policy on Palestine included pulling funding last year for the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA).

The right of return for refugees expelled during the creation of Israel in 1948, as well as during the conflicts since, would also be denied.

But Johnson said the UK would continue to fund UNRWA, and London would remain committed to a “just, fair, agreed and realistic” approach to the two-state solution, with Jerusalem as a shared capital.

In his tweet, Corbyn said Johnson’s stance on the deal “flew in the face of reality.” Corbyn added: “Palestinians unanimously rejected the plan, and Johnson’s letter shows the UK government’s own positions contradict it. So the PM can’t seriously claim Trump’s plan offers a route to genuine peace talks.”

The plan was rejected by Palestinians, the Arab League and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation. It was also heavily criticized by the EU and the international community.


UK summons Iran envoy as Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe faces return to jail

Updated 30 October 2020

UK summons Iran envoy as Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe faces return to jail

  • Husband Richard Ratcliffe: Iran has ordered Nazanin to report to court for a new trial on Monday and then back to jail
  • Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab: Britain has made it clear to Iran “that is entirely unjustified and totally unacceptable and must not happen”

LONDON: Britain on Friday warned Iran against throwing detained woman Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe back in jail, after hauling in Tehran’s envoy for a dressing-down over her emotive case.
The Foreign Office summoned Ambassador Hamid Baeidinejad on Thursday to hear renewed demands from a senior official for an end to the British-Iranian captive’s “arbitrary detention.”
Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab told BBC radio Zaghari-Ratcliffe was in a “horrific position,” after her husband said Iran has ordered her to report to court for a new trial on Monday and then back to jail.
Britain has made it clear to Iran “that is entirely unjustified and totally unacceptable and must not happen,” Raab said.
Zaghari-Ratcliffe, who will turn 42 on Boxing Day, has been on temporary release from Tehran’s Evin prison and under house arrest since earlier this year because of the coronavirus pandemic.
She has spent more than four years in jail, or under house arrest, since being detained in the Iranian capital in April 2016 while visiting relatives with her young daughter.
Zaghari-Ratcliffe, who worked for the Thomson Reuters Foundation — the media organization’s philanthropic arm — denied charges of sedition but was convicted and jailed for five years.

Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe has spent more than four years in jail, or under house arrest, since being detained in the Iranian capital in April 2016. (AFP)

Her husband Richard Ratcliffe said this week that the Foreign Office’s handling of the case “seems disastrous,” and that “the UK is dancing to Iran’s tune.”
Raab told the BBC: “We’ve made it very clear we want to try to put the relationship between the UK and Iran on a better footing.
“If Nazanin is returned to prison, that will of course put our discussions and the basis of those discussions in a totally different place. It is entirely unacceptable.”
Richard Ratcliffe linked the latest development to the postponement of a hearing that was due to take place on Tuesday in London to address Iran’s longstanding demand for the repayment by Britain of hundreds of millions from an old military equipment order.
“As Nazanin’s husband, I do think that if she’s not home for Christmas, there’s every chance this could run for years,” he said, accusing Iran of “hostage diplomacy.”