UK foreign secretary travels to Middle East to build ‘mutually beneficial’ ties

UK foreign secretary travels to Middle East to build ‘mutually beneficial’ ties

James Cleverly to visit Qatar, Kuwait and Jordan to grow UK partnership with region, announce funding plans

By Mehmet Solmaz

BIRMINGHAM, England (AA) - British Foreign Secretary James Cleverly embarked Tuesday on a three-day visit to Qatar, Kuwait and Jordan, during which he will emphasize the UK’s growing partnership with the region and help build “mutually beneficial” ties.

Cleverly’s trip comes after the government announced that citizens from the three countries would benefit from the UK’s new Electronic Travel Authorization visa scheme, which is planned to make travel to the UK cheaper and more accessible for visitors, according to a statement by the Foreign Office.

“I am delighted to be back in the Middle East. The UK’s mutually beneficial relationships with the Gulf and Jordan thrive. We have a bright future together. From working together on shared goals like developing stronger trade ties and security, I am proud of how we are collaborating to benefit us all,” he said.

The foreign secretary will announce up to £1.5 million ($1.9 million) to support initiatives in Jordan for women and girls. The funding will go towards civil society organizations.

He will also meet representatives from the UN Refugee Agency (UNHCR) and the World Food Programme, where he will announce £30 million ($38.6 million) over three years to provide financial support to refugees.

On Tuesday, Cleverly met with Qatar’s Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani.

He will then travel to meet with Kuwait’s Crown Prince, Sheikh Meshal Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah, and discuss “exploring opportunities to strengthen cooperation” on Wednesday.

Cleverly will meet with Jordanian Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi on Thursday.

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