The Minister for Asia and the Middle East, Amanda Milling, has made her first official visit to Israel, the Occupied Palestinian Territories and Jordan.
On 22 June in Israel, she learned more about ongoing peace building projects, visiting the the Peres Centre, and discussed how the UK and Israel can deepen science, technology and innovation ties during a visit to Hebrew University’s Nanotechnology Centre. She met with Israel's Deputy Foreign Minister Idan Roll, where discussions focused on the UK-Israel Bilateral Roadmap, which will define the next decade of UK-Israeli cooperation across a range of sectors, including defence and security, trade, cyber and science and tech.
The Minister then travelled to the Occupied Palestinian Territories on 23 June, where she reiterated the UK’s support for the Palestinian people and a Two State Solution during a series of meetings held with the Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh, Foreign Minister Riyad al Malki and Secretary General of the Palestinian Liberation Organisation Hussein Al Sheikh. During this leg of her visit, Ms Milling also also visited Palestinians at risk of eviction and displacement in East Jerusalem’s Sheikh Jarrah neighbourhood and Masafer Yatta in the South Hebron Hills, and discussed the UK’s support to the Palestinian economy with prominent business leaders.
To round off her tour, the Minister then travelled to Jordan where she met with Jordanian Foreign Minister HE Ayman Safadi to reiterate the importance of the UK-Jordan strategic partnership and the UK’s commitment to sustaining cooperation with Jordan across diplomatic, development, economic and security files. She also met the Ministers of Finance and Planning and welcomed Jordan’s Vision for Economic Modernisation 2033, taking forward vital economic reforms and building on the 2019 London Initiative conference.
In Jordan, the Ms Milling also visited the Al Azraq refugee camp to see first-hand UK-funded humanitarian programmes in support of Syrian refugees and spoke to representatives from UN agencies and the Syrian Refugees Affairs Directorate. She also saw a World Food Programme-contracted supermarket, where refugees can exchange food vouchers to buy food.
On completing the visit, Minister Milling said:
I was delighted to make my first official visit to Israel, the Occupied Palestinian Territories and Jordan as Minister for the Middle East.
I covered a lot of ground in a short space of time in Israel where the relationship has never been stronger. From fascinating examples of Israeli tech and innovation, to the upcoming UK-Israel Bilateral Roadmap, to peacebuilding projects and efforts to promote the two-state solution.
Visiting the Occupied Palestinian Territories was a fantastic opportunity to meet a whole range of Palestinians to discuss the UK-Palestinian bilateral relationship and understand the impact of the occupation. I was particularly pleased to meet with Palestinian civil society to reassure them of the UK’s unwavering support for media freedom and human rights defenders.
Last year we celebrated 100 years of friendship between the UK and Jordan, a friendship that the UK is fully committed to sustaining and developing into its second century. I expressed my gratitude for the Kingdom’s extraordinary and generous role in supporting refugees from regional conflicts, and announced two major new UK-funded programmes totalling £95m designed to support both vulnerable Jordanians and refugees.
I look forward to visiting the region again soon.