Cohen to meet with EU top diplomat amid Iran tensions

FM will travel to Brussels in bid to mend relations with Josep Borell following disagreements on settlement policies, Iran nuclear agreement and democracy in Israel

Foreign Minister Eli Cohen will travel to Brussels on On Monday to meet with the High Representative for Foreign Affairs of the European Union Josep Borrell with the Iranian threat high on the agenda.
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The purpose of the meeting is to improve relations with Borrell and persuade him to take a tougher stance against Tehran during the June meeting of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Board of Governors in Vienna.
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Josep Borell and Eli Cohen
Josep Borell and Eli Cohen
Josep Borell and Eli Cohen
(Photo: Reuters, EPA)
Jerusalem has previously blocked Borell from visiting the Jewish state and the Palestinian territories due to his criticism of Israel's settlement policies and IDF activities in the West Bank.
Despite Borrell's expressed interest in visiting Israel, the Foreign Ministry has firmly stated that he is not welcome due to his comparison of Palestinian terrorism to IDF activities and his advocacy for a new nuclear accord with Iran.
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מתקני הגרעין בפורדו ונתנז
מתקני הגרעין בפורדו ונתנז
Aerial look of Natanz nuclear facility in Iran
(Photo: EPA)
Former foreign minister Yair Lapid had also butted heads with Borrell over the Islamic Republic last year after the latter traveled to Tehran and amid renewed nuclear deal negotiations. Lapid then called the move a "strategic mistake" and detrimental to the security of Israeli citizens.
Aside from his stance on political and military matters, Borrell's remarks on the state of democracy in Israel during a recent European Parliament hearing also did not sit well with the Israeli government, as officials accused him of interfering in Israel's internal affairs.
While Borrell clarified that the EU has no intention of intervening in Israeli affairs, he stated that the European Parliament has the right to discuss the matter in accordance with its values in the region.
Spanish premier in message to Israel
Foreign Minister Cohen also blasted Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez on Saturday after he sent an unusual prerecorded video message that was played during the main rally against the government's judicial reform push in Tel Aviv.
Cohen said in response "The opponents of the reform have no boundaries, including the attempt to harm Israel's international standings" and that "No foreign party will decide for the public in Israel, and I am sure that Sánchez has no such intention."
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