British foreign secretary begins three-day Middle East tour


Published: 2023-07-25 15:48

Last Updated: 2024-04-14 20:36

British foreign secretary begins three-day Middle East tour
British foreign secretary begins three-day Middle East tour

British Foreign Secretary James Cleverly began Tuesday a three-day tour to the Middle East.

The visit, which will include Qatar, Kuwait, and Jordan, comes after the government recently announced that citizens from Gulf countries and Jordan will benefit from the UK’s new Electronic Travel Authorisation visa scheme, which will make travel to the UK cheaper and easier for visitors.

All three countries are also important energy, defense, and security partners for the UK, and trade and investment with the Gulf is vital to support the Prime Minister’s priorities to grow the economy. UK trade with Qatar and Kuwait was worth £18.1bn billion last year alone.

In Jordan, the Foreign Secretary will announce up to £1.5m to support initiatives for women and girls. The funding will go towards civil society organizations.

He will also meet with representatives from UNHCR (the UN’s refugee agency) and the World Food Program where he will announce funding of £30 million over three years to provide cash assistance and support to the poorest refugees. This will cover their basic food and living needs – reaching an estimated 70,000 refugees per year in the camps and host communities.

Cleverly said: "I am delighted to be back in the Middle East. The UK’s mutually beneficial relationships with the Gulf and Jordan continue to thrive. We have a bright future together."

He added: "From working together on shared goals like developing stronger trade ties and security, I am proud of how we are collaborating for the benefit of us all."

"The UK also remains committed to supporting refugees and host communities, collaborating with our partners to help the most vulnerable in the region."

In Qatar today, the Foreign Secretary will meet with the Prime Minister and Foreign Minister, Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani.

He will then travel to Kuwait to meet His Highness the Crown Prince, Sheikh Meshal Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, and explore opportunities to strengthen cooperation.

In Jordan on Thursday, he will meet with Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi.