Foreign Secretary travels to Middle East to help prevent regional spread of conflict

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Foreign Secretary James Cleverly. Picture by Simon Dawson / No 10 Downing Street. Creative Commons License This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic License.

The Foreign Secretary has begun a multi-country visit across the Middle East, as the UK works urgently to help prevent the conflict spreading across the region, while working towards a peaceful resolution.

James Cleverly is meeting senior leaders in Egypt, Turkey and Qatar over the next few days, where he will discuss coordination on efforts to avoid a spillover in violence which would devastate the wider region.

The trip has been planned to countries which are vital to international efforts to uphold regional stability, free hostages and allow humanitarian access to Gaza, with all 3 vital interlocutors in the Middle East. The Foreign Secretary will discuss the urgent need for the Rafah crossing to open so that lifesaving aid can reach those who need it and for Hamas to release the hostages.

Foreign Secretary James Cleverly said:

It is in no one’s interests – neither Israeli, Palestinian nor the wider Middle East – for others to be drawn into this conflict.

I am meeting counterparts from influential states in the region to push for calm and stability, facilitate humanitarian access into Gaza and work together to secure the release of hostages.

Since the Hamas attacks on 7 October, the Prime Minister and Foreign Secretary have spoken to counterparts from almost 20 countries as part of extensive diplomatic efforts to sustain the prospect of peace and stability in the Middle East.

Earlier this week, a £10 million aid package was announced by the Prime Minister in response to the escalating conflict in Gaza – with funding now being made available to agencies helping vulnerable civilians in the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPTs). 

This is an increase of more than a third on existing UK support to the OPTs. Half the new funding will support an appeal by the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine (UNRWA), which is responding to critical food, water, health, shelter and protection needs in Gaza.

The UK remains committed to mitigating the deteriorating humanitarian situation in Gaza and calling for international humanitarian law to be respected, while standing alongside the people of Israel against the terrorist group Hamas.  

Last week the Foreign Secretary was the first foreign minister to visit the site of Hamas’s attacks on Israel.

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