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Press release: Change of British High Commissioner to Namibia

Ms Kate Airey OBE has been appointed British High Commissioner to the Republic of Namibia in succession to Ms Jo Lomas who will be transferring to another Diplomatic Service appointment. Ms Airey will take up her appointment during January 2018.

Curriculum Vitae

Full name: Kate Airey OBE
Married to: Duncan Low
Children: Two
2015 – present FCO, Head, Whitehall Nigeria Unit
2015 FCO, Deputy Head, Ebola Task Force
2014 – 2015 FCO, Deputy Head, UK Ebola Response
2014 Freetown, Deputy High Commissioner
2010 – 2014 Rome, British Embassy, Prosperity Team Leader
2007 – 2010 Abuja, British High Commission, Head, Political Section
2005 – 2007 FCO, Africa Energy Adviser, Climate Change and Energy Group
2004 – 2005 Shell International Oil Products Ltd, Global Oil Products Marketing Manager
2002 – 2004 Shell International, Team Leader, Internal Management Consultancy
2000 – 2001 Shell UK Ltd, Marketing Manager
1999 – 2000 Oxfam, Press Officer

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Press release: Foreign Secretary statement on settlement units in the West Bank

Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson said:

The UK strongly condemns the advancement by the Israeli authorities of plans, tenders and permits for thousands of settlement units across the West Bank.

We are particularly concerned by the approval of settlement construction permits in Hebron for the first time in 15 years. Settlements are illegal under international law and undermine both the physical viability of the two-state solution and perceptions of Israel’s commitment to it.

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Press release: The British army women’s football team visits Kuwait

The British army women’s football team visited Kuwait on 16-19 October as part of a regional tour which also includes UAE, Bahrain and Qatar. They played a match with the Kuwaiti national women’s football team. They also conducted a series of community outreach events, including football and fitness coaching sessions at schools to raise awareness of the benefits of sport and promote positive opportunities for women in sports related activities.

The British Ambassador held a Great branded reception in his house for the British and Kuwaiti teams as well as senior officials from Kuwait Football Association. The visit helped in strengthening sports and cultural ties between the youth in both countries. It also reflected UK’s commitment to see more women in sport. The visit also helped to kick start Kuwaiti women’s football . The media coverage of the visit both on social media and mainstream media was substantive with many positive comments .

News story: Joint communiqué between Mexico and the United Kingdom: October 2017

  1. Secretary of Foreign Affairs, Dr Luis Videgaray Caso, and Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, Boris Johnson, held High Level Political Talks between Mexico and the United Kingdom on 19 October 2017. The Talks were an opportunity to discuss co-operation in areas of mutual interest including foreign policy priorities, multilateral issues, education, culture, innovation, human rights and the rule of law, science and technology, and trade and investment.
  2. Both sides noted that strong progress had been made since the last round of High Level Political Talks in Mexico City on 2 May 2016. They agreed that the momentum generated by the 2015 ‘Dual Year’ and State Visit by President Peña Nieto had been sustained. The Foreign Ministers underlined their commitment to strengthen relations further and emphasised the continued importance of political dialogue and reciprocal high-level visits. They recognised the importance of furthering the legacy of the Dual Year by continuing to engage in a cultural dialogue, exchanging knowledge and increasing links between both countries.
  3. Secretary of State Johnson expressed the UK’s sincere condolences for the loss of life and damage caused by the earthquakes in Mexico in September 2017, and noted that the UK stood in solidarity with Mexico at this difficult time. Secretary Videgaray commended the remarkable resilience shown by the Mexican people and thanked the UK for its messages of solidarity and support for Mexico’s recovery efforts. Both sides also expressed their condolences and support for the people affected by Hurricanes Irma, Maria and Nate, and agreed on the need to support those affected using all available resources.
  4. The Foreign Ministers discussed a range of foreign policy priorities in the Americas, Europe and in multilateral fora such as the United Nations and the G20.
  5. Mexico highlighted the UK’s role as an observer of the Pacific Alliance and welcomed its attendance at the XII Pacific Alliance Summit in Colombia in June 2017. The two sides also noted that they looked forward to future discussions in the framework of the EU-CELAC relationship.
  6. Both sides expressed deep concern about the situation in Venezuela and called on all parties involved to pursue credible negotiation efforts made in good faith aimed at achieving the peaceful restoration of democracy in the country with full respect to human rights, the constitution and democratic institutions, and the legitimate aspirations of the Venezuelan people.
  7. Both Foreign Ministers agreed that global challenges can be solved through multilateral solutions, and reiterated their support for the United Nations and other multilateral fora.
  8. On international security, both countries condemned the multiple missile launches and nuclear tests conducted by the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea (DPRK) and urged the DPRK to immediately and fully comply with all its international obligations, including by implementing all relevant UN Security Council resolutions.
  9. The UK recognised the participation of Mexico at the United Nations Peacekeeping Defence Ministerial in London in September 2016 as a sign of its commitment to playing a greater role in global UN peacekeeping operations.
  10. Both sides expressed their support for the global efforts to tackle the scourge of Modern Slavery. Mexico agreed to support the UK’s Call to Action to End Forced Labour, Modern Slavery and Human Trafficking endorsed at the 72nd Meeting of the UN General Assembly on 19 September 2017.
  11. Secretary of State Johnson welcomed the UN General Assembly Resolution of 11 September 2017, co-sponsored by the UK and Mexico, which highlighted the Illegal Wildlife Trade as a transnational crime. Both countries agreed to work more closely in the global efforts to tackle the trade, including through high-level attendance from Mexico at the international Illegal Wildlife Trade conference in London in 2018.
  12. The UK highlighted plans for new prosperity programming in Mexico to boost the UK’s longstanding partnership with Mexico and work towards increased shared prosperity. The programme will help to increase productivity, including through technology and innovation, strengthen the economy and expand markets in Mexico with a focus on four strategic strands: energy, future cities, financial services and the business environment. Some of the objectives, such as increased access to financial products and better infrastructure projects, will help increase Mexican earthquake recovery and resilience efforts. The programme, which will also expand the potential for trade and investment with Mexico, will be worth around £60 million over four years.
  13. Both sides committed to strengthen bilateral economic relations further and looked forward to High Level Economic Talks due in Mexico City in 2018 as well as to the third meeting of the Senior Business Leaders Group, which held its first meeting during President Peña Nieto’s State Visit in March 2015, and its second meeting in Mexico City in April 2016. The UK and Mexico expressed their strong commitment to champion free trade and open markets within a global economic system that works for everyone, including through active engagement in the G20, WTO and OECD.
  14. They welcomed the strong collaboration between the UK and Mexico on Climate Change and reiterated their commitment to implementing the Paris Agreement. The UK also congratulated Mexico on its progress towards formal membership of the International Energy Agency.
  15. Both countries expressed support for the existing dialogue regarding the threat posed to global economies and societies by antimicrobial resistance (AMR), and stressed the need urgently to implement the 2016 UN agreement on tackling AMR.
  16. The UK underlined its support for the ongoing negotiations to modernise the EU-Mexico Global Agreement, including an ambitious trade pillar. Both sides welcomed the visit to the UK by Secretary of the Economy Ildefonso Guajardo in April 2017 and the visit to Mexico of the Secretary of State for International Trade, Dr Liam Fox, in July 2017 as a sign of commitment to the bilateral trade and investment relationship. Looking ahead, both sides reiterated their shared objective of ensuring continuity for British and Mexican businesses and to strengthen bilateral trade and investment once the UK has left the EU.
  17. Discussions were conducted in a positive atmosphere of mutual respect and understanding. Secretary Videgaray expressed his gratitude to Secretary of State Johnson for his kind hospitality and that of all the high level officials he met during his official visit. The two countries looked forward to the continued strengthening of bilateral relations in 2017 and beyond.

Press release: Boris Johnson announces new prosperity programming for Mexico

This will build on a number of successful UK-backed programmes in the country, and will open up the Mexican market to UK businesses in the energy, future cities and financial services sectors.

By helping to improve Mexico’s business environment and supporting the Mexican government to develop policies that foster an open market, the investment, worth around £60 million over the next four years, will boost the longstanding UK-Mexico partnership, increase prosperity for both countries, and create opportunities for new business, including those from the UK.

The UK has supported a number of successful programmes in Mexico in recent years, including the creation of a competitive renewable energy market, which has already resulted in millions of pounds worth of business for UK companies.

The new prosperity programme will also increase the country’s recovery and resilience efforts following the recent earthquakes by promoting better infrastructure projects and increasing access to financial products such as insurance. Currently, just 5% of Mexicans have building insurance, while more than half of the population has no access to any financial services at all.

Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson said:

Britain has had a close relationship with Mexico ever since the UK became the first European country to recognise its independence almost two centuries ago. The relationship has endured to this day, and our two countries continue to strengthen links in areas as diverse as trade, security, culture, education and tourism.

This new funding will give a significant boost to Mexico’s economic development and reform, which is good news for the UK. Mexico is already implementing an ambitious package of economic reforms, including opening up the energy and telecom sectors. Helping Mexico to build stable, well-regulated markets and reduce barriers to trade will create more opportunities for British companies.

Our trade with Mexico stood at more than £3.6 billion in 2015, but the potential is much greater. This programme is the first step in unlocking that potential, to the benefit of both Mexico and the UK.

Background

The UK’s work in Mexico

  • In 2016 the UK supported local authorities to introduce cost-effective ways to encourage people to use alternative transport to improve urban mobility in Mexican cities. The success of this work led the Mexican government to allocate 15% of its Metropolitan Fund for sustainable mobility, which in turn lead to increased opportunities for British companies.

  • The UK helped Mexico to adopt new financial mechanisms by supporting the design of Mexico’s Green Bonds market from 2014 to 2017. We also assisted in the creation of a new Advisory Council which helped create a new multi-billion dollar market for Green Bonds, and supported the creation of the Mexican carbon platform to trade emissions with other markets.

  • In 2015 we helped develop a Community Policing model to increase trust in Mexico’s police forces, an initiative that was publicly welcomed by President Pena Nieto. A strengthened business environment is good for UK business.

  • Figures from the Mexican Association of Insurance Agents suggest that just 5% of the Mexican population has buildings insurance, only 15% have life insurance, and more than 50% of the population have no access to any financial services product.

The Guest of Government visit

  • The talks form part of a Guest of Government visit by the Foreign Minister on 17-19 October, during which he is also meeting the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Secretary of State for International Trade, HRH The Duke of York and The Lord Mayor of The City of London.

  • The Foreign Ministers are also expected to discuss a range of other issues, including the two country’s shared positions on Venezuela and North Korea, and how they can work together to tackle climate change and the illegal wildlife trade.

  • They will also discuss how the UK and Mexico can further strengthen economic ties, including through high level economic talks that are due to take place in Mexico City in 2018.

  • Foreign Minister Videgaray’s visit follows successful visits to Mexico by the then Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond in May 2016 and Secretary of State for International Trade in July 2017, and a visit to the UK by the Mexican Minister of Economy in April 2017.

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Speech: General Sir Nick Carter

It is a tremendous honour to share this very special day with you and all your families. …..in this your 70th year as the independent army of a sovereign country. It is a proud day and it is has been a fine parade. You have displayed outstanding precision and panache….you were immaculate.

I know that the pride etched on the faces of all of you stood on the parade square today is mirrored in the other faces in this audience. Not least your instructors, who recognised in you that spark of potential…that fighting spirit…those qualities that make a soldier and shape a leader…and who enabled you to get where you are today.

And your families and friends whose love and support have fortified you – and who will continue to be a source of strength.
And your international friends are proud of you too. For in a world with global problems no country is able to address all the challenges alone. Strong alliances and partnerships are more important than ever in preventing conflict, building stability and strengthening the rules-based international order.
And friends we are…
….our two Armies have a long and resilient relationship built on mutual respect and understanding. We have much shared history. Pakistan’s soldiers proved themselves brave and valiant time and again when we fought side by side in the two World Wars – one only has to look at the tally of gallantry medals and battle honours awarded to be reminded.

While our soldiers and officers may have different backgrounds and different faiths, they are united by the same values and standards of courage, discipline, respect, integrity, loyalty and selfless commitment – we may use different words for them, but the effect is the same.

And they share the same hopes – for a secure and prosperous world in which we, our children and future generations can continue to live according to our belief in tolerance, freedom, justice and the rule of law.

You start your career in this honourable profession – the profession of arms - in demanding times. The character of conflict is changing and the operating environment is increasingly uncertain, complex and dispersed. Leadership has never been more challenging and the responsibility of being a leader has rarely been so profound.

But our Values and Standards as soldiers set us apart from other occupations and, often, from our enemies. They are the basis on which we commit ourselves unreservedly to the Service of our respective nations.

For those graduating, today represents a significant moment - it is about celebrating what you have accomplished so far. But it is also about the anticipation of what you can accomplish in a lifetime of selfless service.

You are about to accept a great responsibility to lead soldiers – an honour that demands unfailing competence, commitment, and character each and every day.

As officers, you have been selected, individually, to lead your fellow countrymen in battle in defence of the values you hold dear. And your country can do you no higher honour. Whatever happens to you, whatever rank you achieve, whatever honours are showered on you, you will never have a greater compliment paid you than that.
And, in return for that honour and that trust, you, when you go out from here, will live up to the traditions of leadership. However far your careers take you, always remember, where you started.

In the years ahead, your soldiers will look to you, for guidance and inspiration. They will want to know that you care for them, and for their families. They will model their behaviour on your integrity. They will get their courage from your steadfastness. Leadership is about getting people to do things – and getting them to do things willingly. And in the Army, it will be in situations of great personal danger. When your nation will be relying on you. Military capability and tactical brilliance will always be essential but they will not alone suffice. What qualities then must a leader have if he is to secure this willing acceptance of what he wants?

First - Courage. All soldiers must be prepared to use lethal force to fight. They may need to show restraint, even when doing so involves personal danger. This requires physical courage, and soldiers will depend on each other for it.
And there is another kind of courage you need as an officer. You must have moral courage. Moral courage is a much rarer thing than physical courage. Moral courage means you do what you think is right without bothering very much what happens to you when you are doing it - insisting on maintaining the highest standards of decency and behaviour - even when it may be unpopular, or risk ridicule or danger. Courage - both physical and moral - creates the strength upon which fighting spirit and success in the fight depend.

Second - Integrity. Integrity has a unique significance to soldiering and is an essential ingredient of good leadership. You have got to be honest, not only with yourself but with the men you lead and the people with whom you work. Honesty and integrity are things that you cannot compromise with - you cannot alter; it is the critical foundation for earning the loyalty and trust of those you lead and those you serve. It is about doing as you would be done by. And the standard you walk past without taking action is the standard that you accept – and how you will be judged.

Third - Judgment. The next quality that I wish to mention is judgement. You have got to have judgement. You have got to be able to assess a situation, and assess it quickly as judged against your values, and under difficult circumstances. And judgement is only learned by practice and experience.

You may face action day after day, week after week, virtually alone, with only your consciences as monitors. You will rely on your integrity and your judgment - especially on today’s dispersed battelfields where it is the quality of junior leadership which will count.

Fourth - knowledge and understanding. If you are to have the courage to take the initiative, to produce the will-power that is needed, you must have knowledge. And that is often the challenge of leadership – to keep the balance between strength of will and flexibility of mind. Keep your mind bright and flexible. If you command a small unit, a platoon or section you ought not be satisfied until you can do every task which you order each man in your small unit to do, as well as he can, if not better….. ……and, by the way, the command of a platoon is, I think, the best command you will ever have. I have commanded everything from a section of half-a-dozen men to the entire British Army, and I still look back to the time when I commanded a platoon as the best command I ever had….

You have also got to have a different type of knowledge that is at least as important, if not more important – a knowledge of your men. It is not enough that you are the best soldier in your unit, that you are the strongest, the toughest, the most resilient, and the most intelligent. You must be their leader, their mentor even if you are half their age.
That cultivation of human understanding between you and your men is the one art that you must yet master – but it is the understanding you have of your men on which great soldiering depends.

Know your job and know your men.
There are many other qualities that make a good leader. But these are the four I would wish to share with you that have served me well – courage, integrity, judgment and knowledge and understanding.

There is no man on this parade square who has not got these qualities. If you had not got them you would not be here. So by standing here today you have earned the right to be officers. And leaders of the next generation.

It is up to you now to invest in those qualities, nurture them and keep them close. Remember that good leadership is not imposed like authority. It is actually welcomed and wanted by the led. It is up to you to give your units - whether it is a tank crew, platoon, or becomes a company - leadership, every hour of the day, every day of the week.
Then you will be doing your duty and you will be worthy of the honour that your country does you by choosing you as a leader in this fine Army.

I will leave you with a last thought. There are many things I have learned throughout my service, but it was in the early years that the simplest proved to be the most important to me. And that is that soldiering is nothing without comradeship. It surrounds a man with an atmosphere of warmth and strength at the very moment when he is feeling cold and weak. It encourages his finest instincts, and the demands of friendship serve to strengthen him in battle.

So if I could have my wish as I stand here today, feeling honoured as I do in the tribute paid me, I would say this: If I could only meet you all somewhere in the future, with the world more stable due to friendships like ours, and our Armies standing side by side in comradeship.

So as you go, you go with all our hopes and prayers but also with our confidence that each one of you is ready to write the next chapter in your life – and the next chapter in your nation’s history.

Press release: UK &Taiwan Share Experience on Renewable Energy and Green Finance

Updated: Added translation

A UK trade and technology mission visits Taiwan on 18-20 October to share the UK’s experience in the renewable energy sector, focussing particularly on offshore wind. With the largest ever number of the UK renewable energy delegates to Taiwan, this mission is part of the British Office’s “Innovation is GREAT” campaign, which will introduce innovative British technologies and services to Taiwan.

Made up of 50 representatives from 30 UK companies, the mission comprises two separate delegations: * an offshore wind mission led by Mr Huub den Rooijen, Director of Energy, Minerals & Infrastructure of The Crown Estate, in Taiwan to share the UK’s experiences of developing and managing the world’s largest offshore wind market; and * a Green Finance Mission, including representatives from the City of London Corporation, the London Stock Exchange, the Green Investment Group and other leading UK green finance institutions, here to share UK experiences of promoting investment in clean energy technology and discuss regulatory and policy tools that can help the development of Taiwan’s green finance sector.

Both groups participated in the 12th “UK-Taiwan Renewable Energy Conference” today (19 October), sharing their extensive expertise on the renewable energy sector. The Conference was held in collaboration with the Bureau of Energy, Ministry of Economic Affairs and covered a wide range of topics, including cross government working, marine engineering, training, green financing and operation & maintenance.

Catherine Nettleton, Representative of the British Office, said in her opening remarks: “Renewable energy is a remarkable economic driver for the UK. Our experience tells us that it can be very challenging to start a new industry, but it will be exciting to see Taiwan starting its first offshore wind farm in the foreseeable future. This mission from the UK is our largest ever, including a range of experts in the field. I’m pleased that Britain is a strong partner for Taiwan in its efforts to develop offshore wind.”

A memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between ChangHua County and UK Aon Taiwan Ltd was signed at the Conference today, representing the strong collaboration between the UK and Taiwan to successfully develop offshore wind in Taiwan. During its 2-day visit, the delegation will visit ChangHua County to learn more about the region’s commitment to green energy development and the environment.

British firm ODE Ltd also officially launched its Taiwan Office at today’s event, and has already begun recruiting skilled Taiwanese engineers.

The Green Finance delegation took part in a UK Taiwan Green Finance Roundtable with the Financial Supervisory Commission on Wednesday 18 October where policy makers and representatives of the financial services industry discussed how to accelerate investment into renewable energy. Sherry Madera, Asia Adviser, City Of London Corporation also delivered a presentation entitled “UK Green Finance Initiative: Turning Ambition into Action” in an event co-organised by the European Chamber of Commerce, the British Chamber of Commerce and the British Office Taipei.

On Thursday 12 October, the UK launched its Clean Growth Strategy to build on the success to date in delivering emissions reductions while growing the economy; UK emissions have fallen by 42% since 1990 while the economy has grown by 67%. The Clean Growth strategy announced by UK’s Department for Business, Energy, Industrial strategy provides NTD23.5 billion of fund for less established technologies, such as offshore wind, with the next one planned for spring 2019.

The UK was the first country in the world to adopt statutory emission reduction targets, which require the Government to reduce emissions by 80% of the 1990 level by 2050 (Climate Change Act 2008). As part of the green industry, the UK has taken a 3.7% share of the global market for green goods and services. This puts the UK in sixth place globally.

The UK is already the world leader in offshore wind, with 6.5GW of capacity operating today, the largest in the world with continuous emphasis on technological innovation. The UK is expecting a total of 10GW to be installed by 2020, by which point offshore wind will supply between 8 and 10 percent of the UK’s electricity annually. Renewable energy is a remarkable economic driver in the UK, more than 1 million jobs have so far been created in renewable energy and the total industry is worth £117 billion. The UK is also one of the world’s most attractive countries to invest in renewable energy projects.

More information:

UK supply – the UK has developed the largest offshore wind market in the world and has strengths that complement the Taiwan market. Where there is a need for products and services that are unique to this industry the UK has solutions. There are three key areas where UK support can work:

  • Expertise: Taiwan is in a similar position as the was UK 15 years ago, and we have experts that can support this new market and deliver projects on time and efficiently. The key areas for cooperation are early stage development, design, engineering, installation support and O&M. When London Array started installing wind turbines in 2011 it was taking some 60 days to install and commission each turbine. Last month, it took 14hrs to install and commission a wind turbine on Dudgeon.

  • Specialist equipment: the industry has evolved now to a mature state and prices are driving down, a key influencer has been the development of dedicated equipment, and the UK has some of the best manufacturers in the world. These include manufacturing cables, cable protection, specialist vessel equipment, turbines blades, substation electrical equipment and substations.

  • Marine operations: to build and maintain these huge offshore wind farms, the UK has developed a world leading fleet of installation vessels and operations and maintenance vessels. Along with this we have world leading companies to support in coordinating vessel operations and monitor the efficiency and safety of everyone working offshore.

Complementing Taiwan: there is a need for local content in the Taiwanese market; and an appetite to develop a home supply chain. The UK’s approach is to encourage partnership with local companies who have the potential to deliver in the market. The key areas for local content can be in major or secondary fabrication for foundations and towers, vessels for installation support, technicians (having learned from UK counterparts), installation port services and operations and maintenance.

Speech: "We believe the way to achieve lasting peace is through a negotiated two-state solution"

Thank you Mr President and may I also thank Assistant Secretery-General Jenča, and through him, Special Coordinator Mladenov, for all of his work.

From the outset, I would like to make clear, as we approach the centenary of the Balfour Declaration next month, that the UK understands and respects the sensitivities many have about the Declaration and the events that have taken place in the region since 1917.

The UK is proud to have played a role in helping to make a Jewish homeland a reality. And we continue to support the principle of such a homeland and the modern state of Israel.

Just as we fully support the modern state of Israel as a Jewish homeland, we also fully support the objective of a viable and sovereign Palestinian state. The occupation is a continued impediment to securing the political rights of the non-Jewish communities in Palestine. And let us remember, there are two halves of Balfour, the second half of which has not been fulfilled. There is therefore unfinished business.

With the approaching centenary, we believe it is important to look forward, not backward: forward towards establishing security and justice for both Israelis and Palestinians through a lasting peace.

We believe the way to achieve this lasting peace is through a negotiated two-state solution that leads to a safe and secure Israel living alongside a viable and sovereign Palestinian state, based on 1967 borders with agreed land swaps, Jerusalem as the shared capital of both states, and a just, fair, agreed and realistic settlement for refugees.

Mr President, we continue to watch developments on intra-Palestinian reconciliation closely. Our longstanding policy on reconciliation is that we support the Palestinian people in realising self-determination through an independent, sovereign, and unified Palestinian state encompassing the West Bank and Gaza.

We continue to closely monitor the situation in Gaza, and welcome Egyptian efforts on this important issue. We also join the Secretary-General in welcoming the Palestinian Authority’s return to Gaza on 2 October, and the agreement to allow the Palestinian Authority to resume administrative control. This is an important and positive step toward the full restoration of Palestinian Authority control and effective governance in Gaza. We encourage those involved in the talks to engage in good faith, to allow the Palestinian Authority to fully resume its government functions, and ensure compliance with the Quartet Principles.

Our policy on Hamas remains clear: Hamas must renounce violence, recognise Israel and accept previous agreements. We expect now to see credible movement towards these conditions, which remain the benchmark against which its intentions should be judged. We call on those in the region with influence over Hamas to encourage Hamas to take these steps.

Mr President, in support of the two-state solution, we must continue to press the parties on the need to refrain from actions which make peace efforts more difficult. We are clear that the repellent phenomena of terrorism and incitement pose a grave threat to the two-state solution, and must end.

We strongly condemn the use of racist, hateful and anti-Semitic language. It is right that we continue to urge against any type of action and language that makes it more difficult to achieve a culture of peaceful coexistence.

Settlement construction is a significant barrier to achieving the negotiated agreement we seek, and seriously threatens the physical viability of the two-state solution.

We have witnessed an unacceptable acceleration of settlement activity throughout 2017, both in the West Bank and East Jerusalem. To date, Israel has advanced plans for over thirteen thousand settlement units - the highest number of units since 1992. Reports also indicate that a significant number of units may be advanced this week, and new settlement construction permits were approved in Hebron for the first time in fifteen years. We condemn each of these illegal acts in the strongest terms.

Mr President, moving briefly to Iran:

As we have heard, President Trump has taken the decision not to recertify Iran’s compliance with the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action to Congress. The UK stands committed to the JCPoA and its full implementation by all sides. We believe that preserving the JCPoA is in our shared national security interest. The nuclear deal was the culmination of 13 years of diplomacy and was a major step towards ensuring that Iran’s nuclear programme is not diverted for military purposes. The JCPoA was unanimously endorsed by this Council in Resolution 2231. The International Atomic Energy Agency has repeatedly confirmed Iran’s compliance with the JCPoA through its long-term verification and monitoring programme. Therefore, we encourage careful consideration of the implications to the security of the US and its allies before taking any steps that might undermine the JCPoA, such as re-imposing sanctions on Iran lifted under the agreement.

As we work to preserve the JCPoA, we share concerns about Iran’s ballistic missile programme and regional activities that also affect our security interests. We stand ready to take further appropriate measures to address these issues in close cooperation with the US and all relevant partners. We also look to Iran to engage in constructive dialogue to stop de-stabilising actions and work towards negotiated solutions. We believe this approach entails the best path to regional security.

Thank you, Mr President.

Press release: Minister for the Middle East comments on the situation in Kirkuk

Minister for the Middle East, Alistair Burt, said:

I call on all parties to maintain calm and take steps to de-escalate tensions in Kirkuk, avoiding any provocative statements or actions. It is essential that efforts in Iraq are focused on the defeat of Daesh, stabilisation of liberated areas and on enabling those displaced to return to their homes.

The UK supports the development of sustainable governance arrangements for Kirkuk and all disputed areas which are representative of, and responsive to, all Iraq’s communities, in line with the Iraqi Constitution. We believe in a stable, democratic and unified Iraq, one that is able to provide the security, jobs and services that all Iraqis want and deserve. We stand ready to assist Iraq as it works to deliver this future for its people.

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Press release: New Sanctions Bill introduced in House of Lords

The Sanctions and Anti-Money Laundering Bill has been introduced in Parliament today (Wednesday 18 October). This is the first Bill relating to Brexit to be introduced in the House of Lords, following a public consultation on the new measures earlier this year.

The new legislation will give the UK the necessary legal powers to continue to implement sanctions and introduce tough new measures post-Brexit against states such as North Korea and terrorist organisations including Daesh. This will enable us to maintain existing sanctions regimes currently imposed through EU law, while providing the necessary legal underpinning for the UK to decide when and how to take action against new threats.

This is an important step in ensuring that the UK continues to meet its international obligations and work with allies in tackling shared threats once the UK has left the European Union.

Minister for Europe Sir Alan Duncan said:

Sanctions are a vital part of our response to countries, organisations and individuals who threaten our security or undermine international law. We are taking sensible steps to make sure that we have legislation in place for when we leave the EU so our existing sanctions can continue and we have the freedom to take further action when necessary.

As a Permanent Member of the UN Security Council the UK has long championed a rules-based international system and this will continue after we leave the EU. Sanctions are most effective when delivered by a coalition of countries acting together and we expect to continue working closely with our partners in the EU and the rest of the world to take decisive action when needed. This Bill will ensure we retain the powers we need to remain a responsible and reliable security partner.

The Sanctions and Anti-Money Laundering Bill will be taken through the House of Lords by Foreign Office Minister Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon and is expected to move onto its second reading later this autumn.

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