British PM Brown arrives for 2-day visit

Israeli ambassador in London urges UK "to take a leading roll" against Iranian nuclear program.

brown peres 224.88 (photo credit: Pool/Flash 90)
brown peres 224.88
(photo credit: Pool/Flash 90)
British Prime Minister Gordon Brown arrived in Israel on Saturday night for a two-day visit as Israel's ambassador in London, Ron Prosor, urged the UK "to take a leading role" in the global response to Iran's nuclear ambitions. Brown is scheduled to meet on Sunday with Prime Minister Ehud Olmert and President Shimon Peres in the capital. Prosor wrote in Friday's Daily Telegraph, echoing Winston Churchill, that the international community had so far "'decided only to be undecided.' Churchill used to tell the parable of the appeaser who feeds a crocodile, hoping it will eat him last; the world must send the message to Teheran that feeding time is over." The ambassador wrote that the Brown visit - marking the state's 60th anniversary - "underscores the deep and warm connections between Israel and Britain." On Monday Brown will become the first British prime minister to address the Knesset. Before leaving the country he will hold separate meetings with Defense Minister Ehud Barak, Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni and opposition head Binyamin Netanyahu. The prime minister's spokesman Mark Regev said Brown would be updated on the indirect contacts between Israel and Syria. The Iranian threat will also be discussed. Brown, who arrived from Iraq, is travelling with a high-level business delegation of some 25 leading figures headed by Minister of State for Trade and Investment Lord Digby Jones. An announcement is expected during the visit on an academic, research and exchange program to be administered by the British Council. Brown will also meet with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and hold a press conference in Bethlehem. He will meet with PA Prime Minister Salaam Fayad, and with leading east Jerusalem Palestinians. Brown's visit marks the start of a busy diplomatic week. US Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama will arrive in Israel on Tuesday night as part a weeklong trip that includes Afghanistan, Jordan, the Palestinian territories, Germany, France and Britain. The trip marks his first foreign excursion as a presidential candidate. In his article in the Daily Telegraph, Prosor underlined the continuing threat of Iran to both countries and paid tribute to Britain's role in the international response to Teheran's nuclear program. "As Iran's nuclear program races ahead, the international response has been sluggish, meandering and uncoordinated. Britain has led the way in urging greater effort...," he wrote. Prosor warned that the world would pay for Iran's nuclear ambitions and called on Britain to continue to take a leading role. "Israel is the target of Iran's rhetoric - but the whole world will pay the price of Iran's ambitions. This global menace warrants a global response. Israel looks to Britain to take a leading role," he said. "In Iran, violent extremists hold power over a sophisticated civilization. A population with the gifts to enrich the world has been impoverished; the talents of scientists and engineers have been diverted from peaceful potential to genocidal purposes. "We in Israel feel ourselves on the front line of this murderous threat, but we also feel sure that we are not alone: with Mr. Brown's visit, we are reminded of the depth of friendship between our countries," the ambassador said.