Region: Middle East

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Better understanding current challenges facing Lebanon

Lebanon remains one of the very few efective democracies in the Middle East. This is at risk, however, due to ongoing political impasse.  Lebanon’s current role as a front-line state for the conflict in Syria and a significant influx of refugees has also created new challenges and tensions.  A delegation visit by APPG members, comprising Andrew Love MP (Lab), Brooks Newmark MP (Cons) and Lord Hylton (Crossbench), met the Prime Minister, the Foreign Minister, the Minister for Social Affairs, the traditional leader of the Druze community, as well as Members of the Lebanese Parliament from a variety of parties to explore current thinking on the country’s future.

Welcome Reception at the Federal National Council

UK’s deep relations and history in the Gulf reflected in visit to UAE

Firm political ties were in evidence throughout our visit to the UAE hosted by HE Mohammed Ahmed Al-Murr, Speaker of the Federal National Council. In roundtable discussions, there was a strong emphasis on the collective nature of their work, with members represented the UAE in their deliberations, not their individual emirates. The UAE is a developing democracy and the FNC demonstrated greater involvement for younger people than in the past by expanding the electorate from 7,000 hand-picked electors to over 100,000 in the near future.

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Georgia – part of the wider European family?

While Ukraine’s troubles have captured world attention, another of Russia’s neighbours which suffered two annexations only six years ago – Georgia – has almost escaped notice. Every UK visitor to Georgia, however, is reminded of that country’s long-standing application to join not only the EU but NATO. Georgia has lost 29 soldiers in Afghanistan where it has made the largest human contribution to ISAF of any non-NATO country.

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Visit by UK Parliament’s APPG for Iran: Common interests to be served by full restoration of bilateral relations

A UK parliamentary delegation consisting of Jack Straw MP and Ben Wallace MP (as Joint Chairs of the APPG) accompanied by Lord Lamont of Lerwick and Jeremy Corbyn MP visited Iran from 6-10 January 2014 at the invitation of the Majlis (the Islamic Parliament of Iran). The main purpose of the visit was to advance inter-parliamentary dialogue to build better relations with Iran, including through inviting a reciprocal return visit from Tehran.

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Meeting between senior members of the Syrian National Coalition and UK Parliamentarians

The BGIPU in conjunction with the FCO, facilitated a meeting between senior members of the Syrian National Coalition of Opposition and Revolutionary Forces and UK Parliamentarians on Thursday 5th September. The visit of the delegation from the Syrian National Coalition followed just a week after the vote in the Commons on UK responses to the situation in Syria. 

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Time for Talks is Now, Says IPU Middle East Committee

A delegation from IPU’s Committee on Middle East Questions says there is an urgent need for regular and inclusive dialogue between Israeli and Palestinian legislators to begin now. It would help ensure progress on peace negotiations by capitalizing on political developments in the region. The statement follows a recently concluded visit to the West Bank and Israel as the second part of a mission to the Middle East

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Visit of the Speaker and Delegation of the Majils Ash-Shura, Saudi Arabia

A delegation from the Majils Ash-Shura of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia led by the Speaker, H.E. Dr. Abdullah Bin Muhammad Bin Ibrahim Al-Sheikh, undertook an inter-parliamentary visit to the UK Parliament from 4-6 March 2013.  Accompanying the Speaker were Shura Council Members, Hamza Bin Hussein Al-Sharif, Zuhair F. J. Al-Harthy, Saud Bin Abdulrahman Al-Shammari, Dr. Said Abdulla Al-Shaikh and Dr. Omar Bin Ibrahim Rajab and two of the recently appointed 30 women members of the Council, Thuraya Bint Ahmed Obeid and Dr. Nihad Mohammed Al-Jishi and parliamentary officials.

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Bahrain delegation visit UK Parliamentarians in Westminster and Portsmouth

The BGIPU hosted a delegation from Bahrain to Westminster in March. The visit was a key opportunity to engage with parliamentary counterparts from Bahrain on bilateral interest between our two countries and Bahrain’s 6 perspectives on developments in the Middle East region. The visit also provided an important opportunity to seek perspectives on ongoing human rights concerns in the country in the context of a broader discussion about governance and justice issues.