Press Releases

PRESS RELEASE : Foreign Secretary travels to Middle East to help prevent regional spread of conflict [October 2023]

The press release issued by the Foreign Office on 19 October 2023.

The Foreign Secretary is travelling to Egypt, Turkey and Qatar to help prevent the spread of conflict across the region.

  • James Cleverly plans to meet leaders in Egypt, Turkey and Qatar over the next 3 days to help prevent the conflict spreading across the region and to seek a peaceful resolution
  • he will push for agreement on humanitarian access to Gaza, the release of British hostages and foreign nationals, and securing safe passage for British nationals to leave Gaza
  • visit follows £10 million increase in UK aid funding for Occupied Palestinian Territories

The Foreign Secretary today (18 October) begins a multi-country visit across the Middle East, as the UK works urgently to help prevent the conflict spreading across the region, while working towards a peaceful resolution.

James Cleverly is planning to meet senior leaders in Egypt, Turkey and Qatar over the next 3 days, where he will discuss coordination on efforts to avoid a spillover in violence which would devastate the wider region.

The trip has been planned to countries which are vital to international efforts to uphold regional stability, free hostages and allow humanitarian access to Gaza, with all 3 vital interlocutors in the Middle East. The Foreign Secretary will discuss the urgent need for the Rafah crossing to open so that lifesaving aid can reach those who need it and for Hamas to release the hostages.

Foreign Secretary James Cleverly said:

It is in no one’s interests – neither Israeli, Palestinian nor the wider Middle East – for others to be drawn into this conflict.

I am meeting counterparts from influential states in the region to push for calm and stability, facilitate humanitarian access into Gaza and work together to secure the release of hostages.

Since the Hamas attacks on 7 October, the Prime Minister and Foreign Secretary have spoken to counterparts from almost 20 countries as part of extensive diplomatic efforts to sustain the prospect of peace and stability in the Middle East.

Earlier this week, a £10 million aid package was announced by the Prime Minister in response to the escalating conflict in Gaza – with funding now being made available to agencies helping vulnerable civilians in the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPTs).

This is an increase of more than a third on existing UK support to the OPTs. Half the new funding will support an appeal by the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestine (UNRWA), which is responding to critical food, water, health, shelter and protection needs in Gaza.

The UK remains committed to mitigating the deteriorating humanitarian situation in Gaza and calling for international humanitarian law to be respected, while standing alongside the people of Israel against the terrorist group Hamas.

Last week the Foreign Secretary was the first foreign minister to visit the site of Hamas’s attacks on Israel.