UK Middle East minister embarks on latest Gulf tour

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LONDON
The UK’s Middle East Minister Lord Tariq Ahmad has departed for another Middle East tour with the aim of making progress toward a permanent ceasefire in Gaza.
Ahmad will arrive in Kuwait on Monday where he is set to meet with Kuwait’s Foreign Minister Ambassador Abdullah Al-Yahya as well as the Palestinian Ambassador to Kuwait Rami Tahboub.
He will also co-chair the 20th UK-Kuwait Joint Steering Group alongside Kuwait’s Deputy Foreign Minister Sheikh Jarrah Jaber Al-Ahmad Al-Sabah.
The UK minister will then head to Saudi Arabia to meet with the Kingdom’s Deputy Foreign Minister Waleed Al-Khuraiji and the Ministry of Hajj and Umrah.
Discussions will focus on how to alleviate the desperate humanitarian situation in Gaza and achieve an immediate pause in fighting that would lead to a long-term, permanent ceasefire.
Ahmad will also highlight the UK’s efforts to counter Houthi attacks against international shipping in the Red Sea.
“We want to see an end to the fighting in Gaza as soon as possible, and it is clear that wider escalation and instability in the region is in nobody’s interests,” Ahmad said.
“Our engagement with partners in the Middle East, including Kuwait and Saudi Arabia, is absolutely central to efforts towards achieving a sustainable, permanent ceasefire in Gaza and building wider regional security,” he added.
The minister will also discuss the UK’s Electronic Travel Authorisation scheme, which will allow unlimited visits for Gulf Cooperation Council and Jordanian nationals to the UK over two years.
This visit is part of a series of engagements in the region by the minister, following recent visits to Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, and the UAE.
UK Foreign Secretary David Cameron has also visited the region several times, including Oman and Saudi Arabia, to build on the UK’s call for an immediate pause in fighting to get aid in and hostages out, followed by a long-term ceasefire that prevents destruction, fighting, and loss of life.