Middle East Ambassadors update MPs/Peers on developments in the region
On 20 May, BGIPU convened a roundtable on the Middle East. The meeting was attended by UK MPs and Peers with an interest in the region and chaired by Baroness D’Souza, Vice Chair of BGIPU. The Ambassadors to the UK from Jordan and Lebanon and the Deputy Ambassador from Iraq gave a briefing on the social and political situation in their respective countries. The former BGIPU Chair and Minister for the Middle East in the FCO, Rt Hon Alistair Burt, also participated.
After introductions by Baroness D’Souza, the Ambassador of Lebanon to the UK, His Excellency Rami Mortada, took the floor first and spoke about the social and economic situation in Lebanon. In 2019, civilians took to the streets to protest about unemployment, poverty and skyrocketing inflation. COVID 19 has unfortunately aggravated these difficult social conditions. The Ambassador spoke about his hope for the future and outlined the government’s approach to deal with these difficult problems.
The Ambassador of Jordan to the UK, His Excellency Mr Omar Al Nahar, was next to brief Members. The briefing was multifaceted and gave UK parliamentarians a thorough picture of the current situation in Jordan. Jordan is a stable country in comparison to some of its neighbours. The country is a refugee hub for people fleeing violence and war. The Ambassador spoke about the need for diplomatic solutions to bring peace in the region, enable the refugees to return home, and allow development.
Lastly, Deputy Ambassador of Iraq to the UK, Ms Jwan Khioka, gave a picture of the social, political and economic situation in Iraq. She explained how the government was fighting hard to combat corruption and provide the Iraqi people with services and job opportunities. The Prime Minister has worked with other political parties in Iraq to mend election laws and form a specialised committee to fight corruption. The fall in oil prices, compounded by the effects of COVID 19, have been hugely detrimental for the country.
This well-attended roundtable was informative and sparked an interesting discussion during the Q&A. Speakers and participants agreed that the best way to unsure peace and stability was through diplomatic means. BGIPU would like to thank the Ambassadors and Deputy Ambassador for their high quality briefings and for taking the time to discuss these important matters with UK Members of Parliament.