UK seeks balanced position on Israel and Gaza, says new foreign minister Lammy

By Andreas Rinke

BERLIN (Reuters) – Britain wants a balanced position on the war in the Middle East and will use diplomatic efforts to ensure a ceasefire is reached and hostages held by Palestinian militant group Hamas are released, its new foreign minister David Lammy told Reuters.

Lammy is on a visit to Germany, his first international trip following the Labour Party’s thumping victory in Britain’s election on Friday, which ended 14 years of Conservative government and propelled Keir Starmer to power as prime minister.

“The time has come for the United Kingdom to reconnect with the outside world,” Lammy said in an interview in Berlin.

“I want to get back to a balanced position on Israel and Gaza. We’ve been very clear that we want to see a ceasefire … We want to see those hostages out.”

He added: “The fighting has to stop, the aid has got to get in, and I will use all diplomatic efforts to ensure that we get to that ceasefire.”

Lammy did not elaborate.

The Labour Party suffered significant election setbacks in areas with large Muslim populations in the election on Friday amid discontent over its position on the war in Gaza, despite a landslide victory in the parliamentary vote.

Efforts to secure a ceasefire and hostage release in Gaza gathered momentum on Friday after Hamas made a revised proposal on the terms of a deal, and Israel said negotiations would continue into next week.

Gaza health authorities say more than 38,000 Palestinians have been killed in the offensive launched in response to a Hamas-led assault on Israel last Oct. 7 in which 1,200 people were killed and over 250 taken hostage, according to Israeli tallies.

Lammy also said Britain would seek to reset its position globally on issues including the climate crisis as well as key relationships, such as with European and emerging powers.

“Let us put the Brexit years behind us … there’s much that we can do together,” Lammy said, pointing to a previously floated idea of a UK-EU security pact.

Lammy will on Sunday travel to Poland and Sweden, where he will focus discussions on areas including cooperation on NATO and the war in Ukraine, Britain’s foreign office said.

(Reporting by Andreas Rinke and Reuters TV in Berlin; Writing by Sachin Ravikumar, Editing by William Maclean)


Close Bitnami banner