Category Archives: Press Releases

Shorter Hopes For A Symbolic Year For Women In Lebanon

Shorter meets Geagea hopes it will be a symbolic year for women in Lebanon in the upcoming elections

Ambassador Shorter meets Lebanese Forces leader Geagea

Ambassador Shorter meets Lebanese Forces leader Geagea

British Ambassador to Lebanon Hugo Shorter met with the leader of the Lebanese Forces Party Samir Geagea.

After the meeting Ambassador Shorter said:

I had a good meeting today with the head of the Lebanese Forces Party, Samir Geagea. Our discussions covered a range of issues including the upcoming parliamentary elections in May. I am hopeful that the Lebanese Forces are considering positively the inclusion of more female candidates on electoral lists.

It is a symbolic year for women in the UK with the celebration of 100 years of women suffrage. I hope it will be a symbolic year for women in Lebanon, with the elections representing an important opportunity to boost inclusion and representation of women.

Russian Ambassador Called To Foreign Office To Discuss Syria

Minister of State for Europe and the Americas Sir Alan Duncan met Russian Ambassador to the UK, Alexander Yakovenko, to stress UK concern at the current situation in Syria

Foreign & Commonwealth Office

Foreign & Commonwealth Office

Minister of State for Europe and the Americas Sir Alan Duncan met Russian Ambassador to the UK, Alexander Yakovenko, at the Foreign and Commonwealth Office today (27 February) to stress UK concern at the current situation in Syria, particularly the crisis in Eastern Ghouta and the need for a ceasefire as stipulated in Resolution 2401 passed by the UN Security Council last weekend.

Minister Duncan welcomed the fact that all UN Security Council members, including Russia, had voted in favour of a ceasefire and underlined Russia’s obligations to adhere to its commitments to ensure that UNSCR 2401 was implemented in full. Minister Duncan reiterated the UK Government’s deep concern about reports of continued attacks by pro-regime forces in Eastern Ghouta, where an estimated 400,000 people have been under siege since 2013, including reports of chemical weapons use.

Minister Duncan urged Russia to use its influence to ensure the Syrian regime adhered to the ceasefire in order to allow rapid, unimpeded and sustained humanitarian access and non-conditional medical evacuations which are urgently needed across Syria, but particularly Eastern Ghouta. Only one inter-agency convoy has accessed Eastern Ghouta since November, reaching just 2.6% of people in need. Humanitarian pauses of limited duration are no substitute for a sustained ceasefire.

Minister Duncan underlined that the violence in Syria reinforces the urgency of achieving a political solution, as called for by the UN Security Council, and urged Russia to work with the international community to achieve this.

Opening Of U.S. Embassy Jerusalem

U.S. Department of State

U.S. Department of State

In May, the United States plans to open a new U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem. The opening will coincide with Israel’s 70th anniversary. The Embassy will initially be located in the Arnona neighborhood, in a modern building that now houses consular operations of U.S. Consulate General Jerusalem.

Those consular operations, including American citizen and visa services, will continue at the Arnona facility without interruption, as part of the Embassy. Consulate General Jerusalem will continue to operate as an independent mission with an unchanged mandate, from its historic Agron Road location. Initially, the interim Embassy in Arnona will contain office space for the Ambassador and a small staff.

By the end of next year, we intend to open a new Embassy Jerusalem annex on the Arnona compound that will provide the Ambassador and his team with expanded interim office space. In parallel, we have started the search for a site for our permanent Embassy to Israel, the planning and construction of which will be a longer-term undertaking.

We are excited about taking this historic step, and look forward with anticipation to the May opening.

Minister For The Middle East Meets With Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister

Minister Burt met Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araghchi in London on 21 February

Minister Burt and Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araghchi

Minister Burt and Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araghchi

Minister for the Middle East Alistair Burt met his Iranian counterpart, Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araghchi, in London yesterday for talks on bilateral issues, including the Iran nuclear deal and cases of British dual nationals detained in Iran. During the meetings, held at the Foreign Office, the Ministers also discussed Iran’s role in the Middle East.

Speaking following the meetings, Minister Burt said:

Continuing constructive engagement with Iran is vital on issues ranging from the preservation of the Iran nuclear deal to the ongoing detention of British dual nationals in Iran. The Foreign Secretary had useful meetings on these areas when he visited Tehran in December last year, and it was good to have an opportunity to build on this with some positive discussions in London today.

Iran is, in addition, a pivotal actor in the wider Middle East. In my meetings I urged the Iranian Government to play a more positive role in the region, particularly in the conflicts in Yemen and Syria.

Middle East Minister Condemns Violence Against Innocent Syrians As New Report Reveals 9 In 10 Live In Daily Fear

Alistair Burt calls out Asad regime for using food as a weapon of war and announces emergency UK aid package to provide safe water to 575,000 people in Idlib

A child is assessed for malnutrition in Eastern Ghouta, October 2017. Picture: Linda Tom/OCHA

A child is assessed for malnutrition in Eastern Ghouta, October 2017. Picture: Linda Tom/OCHA

The scale of fear and suffering in Syria, as well as the extreme measures people are taking to survive the relentless conflict, has been confirmed by a new report from global aid organisation Mercy Corps, backed by the Department for International Development, which has been released today (22 February 2018).

Speaking at the launch of the report, Middle East Minister Alistair Burt called out the “callous” Asad regime for using food as a weapon of war and announced an emergency UK aid package to provide safe water to 575,000 people in Idlib, where violence against innocent Syrians has intensified in recent weeks.

As the crisis enters its eighth year, the new report reveals that 9 in 10 people live in daily fear for their own safety and the safety of their families.

It finds that military attacks continue to affect millions of innocent men, women and children still living in Syria. They typically experience serious violence – which would result in death, injury or destruction of property – twice a week.

Desperate parents are taking extreme measures, such as selling their homes and sending children to work in order to raise money, while a few have even joined armed groups and forced young daughters into marriage.

Speaking at the launch of the report, Middle East Minister Alistair Burt said:

As the brutal conflict enters its eighth year, this important report lays bare the horrific reality of daily life in Syria. With food still being used as a weapon of war by the callous Asad regime, families are driven to desperate measures to survive and their bravery and resilience are clear.

Millions of innocent Syrian men, women and children rely on UK aid and they need our help now more than ever. That’s why we’re providing an emergency clean water to hundreds of thousands of people that have fled the violence in Idlib, to help keep them alive and stop the spread of deadly and preventable diseases.

But aid alone is not enough. All parties must stop the bloody violence, protect civilians, respect international international law and allow immediate and unhindered access for much needed aid convoys to get to those in need. Whilst the international community works towards a political solution to the conflict, which is in all our interests, emergency aid is the only way to alleviate the crisis inside Syria.

The research shows how civilians have learned to adapt. Although, more than two-thirds of those surveyed have lost their jobs, at least a third of those have been able to find new sources of income.

However, two in three households still don’t know where their next meal is coming from, underlining the importance of getting immediate and unfettered aid access to stop people starving.

One family told Mercy Corps that they suffered from poisoning after eating animal fodder because it was the only way they could feed themselves.

Arnaud Quemin, Country Director for Mercy Corps in Syria said:

This study backs up with evidence what we have seen in our daily work in Syria. The resourcefulness of people in the midst of extreme violence is remarkable and a testament to the immense adaptive power of humanity. These are dire events, and yet there are still glimmers of hope.

With the vital support of UK aid, Mercy Corps has been helping Syrians since the war began almost seven years ago, and has saved many lives. We believe that the findings from this report offer us new ways to adapt that support to help Syrians in the best way possible.

Since the conflict began in 2011, 11 million people have fled their homes and 6 million of those are still sheltering inside Syria.

Britain has been at the forefront of the response to the Syria crisis and we have delivered 21 million food rations, 8.8 million relief packages, 3.3 million vaccines against deadly diseases and 8.1 million medical consultations for those in need in Syria.

UK aid continues to provide vital food, water and shelter to those most in need – including in Eastern Ghouta, where 400,000 people are under siege by the Asad regime, and in Idlib, where more than 300,000 people have fled their homes in the last two months.

The package of support announced today will provide fuel and oil to open 49 pumping stations to get clean drinking water to 575,000 people in over 122 villages in Idlib. This will give a vital lifeline to hundreds of thousands that have fled their homes in recent weeks and face death, disease or serious illness without a clean water supply.

It will also send water trucks, hygiene kits and emergency supplies to the most vulnerable people if the fighting intensifies to the point that they cannot get access to the water that they so desperately need.

« Older Entries