Page last updated at 09:03 GMT, Tuesday, 16 December 2008

Brown holds talks with Israeli PM

Ehud Olmert and Gordon Brown
Gordon Brown has called for a fresh push towards a Middle East peace deal

Gordon Brown has held talks with Israeli PM Ehud Olmert in Downing Street, a day after meeting his Palestinian counterpart Salam Fayyad.

The two leaders were expected to discuss progress on Middle East peace and a solution to the Iran nuclear row.

Mr Brown says a durable Middle East peace deal is achievable but, among other things, Israel must address the issue of settlements in the West Bank.

The UK prime minister has said these settlements are an obstacle to a deal.

Mr Brown has urged US President-elect Barack Obama to make the Middle East peace process a priority when he comes into office.

The UK prime minister regards a lasting peace agreement as a vital step towards securing greater investment in the region and helping to tackle global terrorism.

The visit by Mr Olmert, who has been Israeli prime minister since 2005 but will step down after elections in February, follows a similar trip to London by Mr Fayyad on Monday.

At a joint press conference with Mr Fayyad on Monday, Mr Brown said the settlements were a barrier to progress in negotiations.

"I hope in the next few weeks and months this will be recognised as a barrier that has got to be overcome," he said.

Mr Brown has called for a secure and economically viable Palestinian state to co-exist with an Israel that feels "secure within its borders".

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