Top UK diplomat to hold Iran talks in Israel: report

2nd November 2010, Comments 0 comments

British Foreign Secretary William Hague will hold top-level talks with Israeli officials on Iran's nuclear programme during a three-day visit to the region, an Israeli newspaper said on Tuesday.

Hague arrives later in the day for his first visit to Israel and the Palestinian Territories since taking over as Britain's top diplomat in May.

He was expected to hold in-depth talks with Israeli officials on Wednesday morning with the aim of assessing how effective sanctions against Tehran have been, the Haaretz daily reported, saying the talks were at Hague's request.

Among those scheduled to attend the meeting are Meir Dagan, head of the Mossad spy agency, Shaul Horev, who heads Israel's Atomic Energy Commission and Intelligence and Atomic Energy Minister Dan Meridor, the paper said.

The British Embassy declined to confirm the meeting, saying only that "Britain shares Israel's concern about the threat posed by nuclear weapons in Iran's hands and holds regular discussions about this issue."

Israel, the United States and other western countries believe Teheran's nuclear programme is aimed at building an atomic arsenal. Iran denies the allegations, saying its programme is for civil energy purposes only.

Israel, widely believed to be region's sole if undeclared nuclear power, has refused to rule out an attack on arch-foe Iran to prevent it going nuclear.

During his visit, Hague is expected to meet with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian prime minister Salam Fayyad as well as other top officials.

© 2010 AFP

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