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Defence Secretary visits Middle East partners

Defence Secretary Philip Hammond is in the Gulf to discuss the threat terrorist group ISIL poses to Iraq and the region as a whole.

This was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

Defence Secretary Philip Hammond [Picture: Crown copyright]
Defence Secretary Philip Hammond

Mr Hammond arrived in the Gulf today, 24 June, to meet with foreign and defence ministers of the governments of Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Kuwait and Qatar.

Speaking from the UAE, Mr Hammond said:

I have held constructive talks with His Royal Highness Crown Prince Salman of Saudi Arabia and with His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid in the UAE to discuss the ongoing situation in Iraq that represents a threat to not just British interests but the wider security of the Gulf.

Britain is not planning to intervene militarily, but we are urging our Gulf allies to do all they can to seek a political resolution in Iraq that is inclusive and resolute in defeating ISIL. I will be continuing talks on the crisis with the governments of Kuwait and Qatar on Wednesday (25 June).

The 2-day visit is an opportunity to discuss the need for a political solution to the crisis in Iraq which is inclusive and representative of all Iraq’s communities.

The meetings with regional allies will again demonstrate the UK’s commitment to the security of Gulf countries.

Philip Hammond meets UK troops transiting through the Gulf
Philip Hammond meets UK troops transiting through the Gulf on their way back from Afghanistan [Picture: Crown copyright]

Speaking ahead of the visit Mr Hammond said:

We remain committed to the security of the Gulf and want to reassure our friends and allies that we will do everything possible to support those who are working for a stable and democratic Iraqi state and to alleviate humanitarian suffering.

As the Foreign Secretary and I have previously made clear, the response to these events must be led by the Iraqi government. We are urgently looking at ways to help the Iraqi government, for example with counter-terrorist expertise.

Published 23 June 2014
Last updated 25 June 2014 + show all updates
  1. Added photograph of Philip Hammond meeting UK troops
  2. Updated with latest information on the visit
  3. First published.