Making a Difference in the Middle East: UK Objectives
The Centre hosted a lecture on 20 July by Rt Hon Alistair Burt MP, Minister of State responsible for UK relations with the Middle East, appointed to both the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and the Department for International Development.
He took as his title: Making a Difference in the Middle East: UK Objectives. Mr Burt has very considerable parliamentary and Ministerial experience and a considerable track record in the region, this being his second appointment to the role. Members of the Centre, students and senior academics enjoyed an expert survey of the many challenges facing the region and the UK responses to these.
In a substantial question and answer session, many questions focussed on the region’s unresolved conflicts, notably in Syria and Libya, and relationships in the Gulf, notably with Iran, but concern was also expressed to promote progress on Palestine, and avert humanitarian crisis in Gaza, concerns which Mr Burt said the Government fully shared. The Minister was also asked about the implications of wider international engagement in the region, particularly by the United States and Russia and the role of Europe, as well as the practical benefits of bringing together the political and development portfolios for the region.