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Middle East

Volume 602: debated on Tuesday 24 November 2015

13. What recent discussions he has had with (a) the Gulf Co-operation Council and (b) other Governments on plans to improve security in the middle east. (902315)

Given Britain’s strong strategic, diplomatic and economic ties with Gulf nations and other states in the middle east, both the Foreign Secretary and I regularly meet our counterparts to discuss a range of issues including security. In recent weeks, the UK hosted the Egyptian President here in London. The Foreign Secretary has visited Saudi Arabia, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain. I have returned from Oman, and will shortly be heading to Kuwait—I say that hopefully, looking at the Whip on duty.

As we face an epidemic of jihadist violence, can my hon. Friend assure the House that, in his extensive and close dialogue with our Gulf friends and partners, he will continue to press on them that the funding by some of them of these dangerous jihadi organisations really must stop?

My right hon. Friend is absolutely right. One of the five key traits of the strategy is preventing the funding that is taking place that is keeping ISIL alive. It is important that all countries across the middle east in the coalition of 65 work hard to prevent that from happening.

18. Will the Minister raise in his discussions the current terrorist attacks on Israeli civilians? Some 108 Israelis have been killed or injured by shootings and stabbings on the streets in recent weeks. Will he also condemn the incitement that goes with that, including the statement from the Palestinian cleric in Gaza who said that Jews should be turned into body parts to stab “the myths of the Talmud” out of their heads? (902322)

The hon. Lady raises a very serious point. Thankfully, in the past couple of weeks there has been a reduction in violence in the west bank. Since the start of the current spate of violence, we have spoken regularly with both sides—the Israeli Government and the Palestinian Authority—and we urgently need to de-escalate tensions and get all parties back to the table.