- Middle East Minister Lord (Tariq) Ahmad of Wimbledon visits Bahrain and Qatar for discussions on the crisis in Israel and Gaza.
- In a speech to senior decision makers from the region, Lord Ahmad will reiterate urgent calls for sustained humanitarian pauses and discuss longer term routes to end hostilities and bring about a two-state solution.
- Visit follows UK commitment of an additional £30 million in humanitarian aid to Palestinians.
Minister of State for the Middle East Lord Ahmad is travelling to Bahrain and Qatar for high-level talks on the crisis in Israel and Gaza.
In Bahrain, the Minister will give a speech at the Manama Dialogue, a forum of senior decision makers from the Middle East.
He will set out the UK’s commitment to securing sustained humanitarian pauses to allow the flow of significantly more life-saving aid into Gaza and to preventing the crisis from spreading across the region.
He will stress the UK’s position that Israel has a right to defend itself but their actions must comply with international humanitarian law, and discuss ways to bring about long-term regional stability and a viable two-state solution. The Minister will also meet with Middle East counterparts, including the Secretary General of the Arab League.
In Qatar the Minister will have various bilateral meetings, including with the Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, HE Mohammed Al Khulaifi and with Minister of Labour, HE Dr Ali bin Samikh Al Marri. He will thank Qatar for their role in negotiations to secure the release of hostages held by Hamas in Gaza.
Lord (Tariq) Ahmad of Wimbledon, Minister of State for Middle East, North Africa, South Asia, United Nations and the Commonwealth said:
Together with our partners in the Middle East, the UK is working to increase the amount of aid getting into Gaza and prevent the crisis from spreading across the West Bank and the wider region. This includes the conditions to allow for safe, unhindered and sustainable access of humanitarian aid.
I will also be discussing the prospects of a renewed effort towards delivering on the reality of a two-state solution which delivers peace and security for Israelis and Palestinians.
The visit to Bahrain and Qatar follows Lord Ahmad’s recent visits to Israel, the West Bank and Morocco and Minister of State for Development and Africa Andrew Mitchell’s visit to Cairo earlier this week. This is in addition to travel to the region by the Prime Minister, former Foreign Secretary and Defence Secretary. These diplomatic efforts have centred on calls for access to lifesaving aid for Gaza, the return of British nationals and the prevention of dangerous regional escalation.
The UK recently allocated £30 million in additional aid for the Occupied Palestinian Territories – more than doubling the existing aid commitment for this year [£27m]. This will allow trusted partners, including the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) and others, to provide Palestinians with essential humanitarian relief items and services such as food, water and shelter.
Lord Ahmad will also use to visit the Qatar to discuss bilateral matters. This includes overseeing the signing of the Labour Rights Memorandum of Understanding (MoU), providing a framework for further reform of labour rights in Qatar and building on progress made around the recent World Cup.
The Minister will also open the UK Pavilion at the International Horticultural Exposition in Doha. The exposition aims to promote horticultural solutions to the challenges of climate change and water scarcity.