Region: Middle East

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MPs respond to looming famine in Africa and Yemen

The global parliamentary community has called for urgent international action to save millions of people from famine and drought in parts of Africa and Yemen.  In an emergency item adopted 4 April at the 136th Assembly of the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU), the Organization’s Members committed to pressuring their governments to fund humanitarian relief operations to avert this crisis.

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Iraq delegation keen to highlight unity and partnership with UK

BGIPU hosted from late November a delegation from Iraq led by the Chair of the Iraqi-British Parliamentary Committee, Dr Hanan Saeed Mohsin, with seven parliamentary collegues representing all the key factions of the Iraqi Parliament.  The delegation sought deeper engagement with UK counterparts with the key message being that for the first time in decades all Iraqis were united in securing the future with current efforts to liberate Mosul from the control of Daesh being a decisive and important step.

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Knesset Speaker addresses UK MPs and Peers

The Knesset Speaker, Yuli-Yoel Edelstein visited the UK Parliament on 2 March 2016 during an official visit to the United Kingdom. He was accompanied by Knesset members and staff and delivered an address to members of both Houses in the IPU Room outlining his views on a range of issues related to the peace process, regional affairs and bilateral relations.  He also underscored his faith in the value of inter-parliamentary dialogue and the Knesset’s commitment to this, including through the Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU).  During his visit to the UK Parliament, Speaker Edelstein also meet the Speaker of the House of Commons, Rt Hon John Bercow MP and the Lord Speaker, Baroness D’Souza CMG PC.

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Timely visit from Shura Council of Saudi Arabia

A parliamentary delegation from the Shura Council of Saudi Arabia had detailed exchanges with UK counterparts on bilateral and regional issues, including underscoring our common commitment in the fight against Daesh. Ongoing advances in the role of women in Saudi Arabia, including participation in local elections was also welcomed. The delegation engaged parliamentary counterparts on science, technology, innovation and business links to expand bilateral cooperation, culminating in a very productive visit to Oxford University.

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Parliamentary links support full restoration of UK-Iran relations

BGIPU, in close collaboration with Co-Chairs of the Iran All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG), Rt Hon Jack Straw MP and Mr Richard Bacon MP, hosted a parliamentary delegation from the Islamic Republic of Iran from 9 to 13 March 2015 in return for a successful visit undertaken by the APPG to Tehran in January 2014. The visit was successful in strengthening inter-parliamentary relations between both countries in support of official government efforts to fully restore bilateral relations.

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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.