UK snubs Paris summit in deference to Trump

The UK sent only junior-level officials to Sunday’s international summit in Paris, instead prioritizing its relationship with the incoming US administration. 

The British government sent only junior-level officials to Sunday’s international summit in Paris that focused on implementing a two-state solution between Israel and the Palestinian Authority (PA), most likely not to alienate the incoming Trump administration, according to a report in The Guardian.

The UK was represented by Michael Howells, who chairs the Middle East desk in the UK’s Foreign Office, as well as by two advisers to British Ambassador to France Edward Llewellyn.

Last week, Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson avoided directly answering questions in the House of Commons as to whether he would attend the summit in Paris.

The UK reconsidered sending high-level officials after Trump’s team expressed disapproval of the Paris summit, which it viewed as another attempt to unfairly impose pressure on Israel. Trump said that “Israel’s been treated very, very unfairly” after the UN Security Council (UNSC) passed a resolution condemning any Israeli presence in territories won from Jordan during the Six Day War in 1967.

The UK government apparently took significant note of the president-elect’s objections to the Paris summit and acted accordingly. The report in The Guardian pointed to the traditionally high value with which the UK views its “special relationship” with the US .

The UK already appeared to move somewhat in Trump’s direction when it condemned a speech by US Secretary of State John Kerry at the State Department that focused primarily on criticizing Israeli “settlements” in Judea and Samaria.

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By: Jonathan Benedek, World Israel News