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UK PM Rishi Sunak tells Israel’s Netanyahu to exercise restraint in wake of Iran’s missile attacks

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London, Apr 17 (PTI) British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has called on his Israeli counterpart Benjamin Netanyahu to exercise restraint and let “calm heads” prevail in the wake of Iran’s missile attacks as his Foreign Secretary David Cameron landed in Tel Aviv for talks on Wednesday.

In a phone call, Sunak reiterated the UK’s “steadfast support” for regional stability and told the Israeli leader that Iran had miscalculated its move, being isolated on the global stage as a result.

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Netanyahu is said to have thanked Britain for its “rapid and robust” support in the face of Iran’s unprecedented direct attack on Israel on Saturday.

“The Prime Minister [Sunak] said Iran had badly miscalculated and was increasingly isolated on the global stage, with the G7 coordinating a diplomatic response,” Downing Street said in a readout of the call on Tuesday evening.

“He stressed that significant escalation was in no one’s interest and would only deepen insecurity in the Middle East. This was a moment for calm heads to prevail,” the statement said.

On the ongoing Israel-Hamas conflict in Gaza, Sunak told Netanyahu that he remained gravely concerned about the deepening humanitarian crisis.

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“The UK wanted to see a massive step change in aid access to flood Gaza with vital supplies, including Israel opening up new aid routes as quickly as possible. The Prime Minister said it was deeply disappointing that Hamas blocked a deal at the weekend that would have saved Palestinian lives and secured the safe release of hostages,” Downing Street added.

The call will form the backdrop for Cameron’s discussions in Israel, where he is expected to meet Netanyahu and senior Israeli officials and attempt to talk the country out of retaliating to Iran’s assault.

The visit will include meetings in the occupied West Bank, after which Cameron will travel to a gathering of Group of Seven (G7) ministers in Italy to discuss further sanctions on Iran.

The UK has condemned Iran’s “reckless and dangerous escalation” in the region and called on all sides to show restraint after Tehran’s “barrage of 300 missiles and drones” targeted Israel over the weekend.

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India has called for an “immediate de-escalation” of hostilities between Iran and Israel and called for a “return to the path of diplomacy”. External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar has held phone calls with his counterparts in Iran and Israel, following which Indian officials are expected to be allowed access to its crew on a ship with Israeli links seized by Iranian troops. PTI AK AKJ

GSP

 

 

 

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