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House of Commons Hansard
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Foreign and Commonwealth Office
27 February 2019
Volume 655

Topical Questions

The following is an extract from Foreign and Commonwealth Questions on 26 February 2019.

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The stability of Lebanon is vital to the wider security situation in the middle east. It has taken Prime Minister Hariri nine months to put together a Government that reflects all the different complex denominations and sects in Lebanon, including several Ministers from Hezbollah. What discussions have the British Government had with Prime Minister Hariri or the Lebanese Government about the proscription of the political wing of that organisation?

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By good fortune, the Prime Minister and I met the Prime Minister of Lebanon on Sunday at the summit in Sharm el-Sheikh. We were able to discuss not only the issue relating to Hezbollah, but our own efforts to support the stability of the Government of Lebanon. Prime Minister Hariri recognised the support that the United Kingdom gave. We want to see Lebanon’s Government formation completed and also for the Government to go forward economically, a process in which our own investment conference in December was a landmark event.

[Official Report, 26 February 2019, Vol. 655, c. 164.]

Letter of correction from the Minister for the Middle East (Alistair Burt):

An error has been identified in the response I gave to my right hon. Friend the Member for East Devon (Sir Hugo Swire).

The correct response should have been:

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By good fortune, the Prime Minister and I met the Prime Minister of Lebanon on Sunday at the summit in Sharm el-Sheikh. We were able to discuss not only the issue relating to Hezbollah, but our own efforts to support the stability of the Government of Lebanon. Prime Minister Hariri recognised the support that the United Kingdom gave. We are pleased to see Lebanon’s Government formation completed and also for the Government to go forward economically, a process in which our own investment conference in December was a landmark event.

UK Soft Power

The following is an extract from Foreign and Commonwealth Office questions on Tuesday 26 February 2019.

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The Minister is right to point out outside organisations. Will he, like me, pay due credit to the brave non-governmental organisations that do fantastic work and enhance our soft power in some of the most difficult conflict environments in the world, not least Yemen? Today, the United Nations is appealing for £3.2 billion to help organisations such as Saferworld and International Rescue Committee. Should that not be our focus, rather than the £4.6 billion we spent on arms?

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We have announced only today, in the aftermath of the Sharm el-Sheikh negotiations, that we will be putting a further £200 million into Yemen. It is important to recognise the tremendous contribution made by so many British citizens and British NGOs across the globe. That is one aspect of soft power that will enhance our standing in the years to come. It is in this sort of area where I hope we will continue.

[Official Report, 26 February 2019, Vol. 655, c. 146-47.]

Letter from the Minister for Asia and the Pacific, the right hon. Member for Cities of London and Westminster (Mark Field).

An error has been identified in the response I gave to the hon. Member for North East Fife (Stephen Gethins).

The correct response should have been:

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We announced on Sunday, in the aftermath of the Sharm el-Sheikh negotiations, that we will be putting a further £200 million into Yemen. It is important to recognise the tremendous contribution made by so many British citizens and British NGOs across the globe. That is one aspect of soft power that will enhance our standing in the years to come. It is in this sort of area where I hope we will continue.