Cameron to seek Gaza pause and UK investment at Saudi WEF summit

Foreign Secretary to use close ties with Saudi Arabia to address issues in the Middle East and world

Lord Cameron plans to work with Saudi Arabia and other allies to calm regional tensions. Reuters
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Lord David Cameron will call for an immediate humanitarian pause in Gaza and look to encourage investment in the UK during talks at the World Economic Forum.

The Foreign Secretary will attend the summit on Monday, which is being held in Riyadh for the first time.

The Israel-Gaza war will be part of the agenda and Mr Cameron will work with Saudi Arabia and other allies to calm regional tensions.

The UK wants to see an immediate pause in the fighting to get more aid in and hostages out of Gaza, then progress towards a permanent and sustainable ceasefire.

The minister will also seek to deepen ties with partners in the Middle East and boost inward investment to the UK.

“It is a vital time to push for UK security and prosperity," he said.

"We will be backing important trade and investment projects that will create British jobs while discussing important security issues, including Israel and Gaza.

“The UK and Saudi Arabia share close ties that mean we can work together to tackle the biggest issues facing the Middle East and the rest of the world.

“Achieving an immediate pause in Gaza, releasing hostages and ensuring aid reaches those who need it most remains a top priority and we will continue to work with key partners in the region to that end.”

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It is Lord Cameron’s eleventh visit to the Middle East since becoming Foreign Secretary in November.

The US Secretary of State Antony Blinken is also scheduled to attend the summit to try to broker a ceasefire between Israel and Hamas and prevent a regional conflagration.

Saudi Arabia has worked with other countries to contain the Gaza war and avoid a spiralling regional conflict that could derail its economic reform agenda, known as Vision 2030.

Israel’s offensive in Gaza has killed more than 34,000 people, according to local health officials, and brought destruction across the territory.

It was sparked by Hamas’s October 7 attack on Israel in which militants killed around 1,200 people and abducted around 240 hostages.

The gathering in the Saudi Arabian capital will focus on revitalising global collaboration and access to development finance and energy.

Lord Cameron will speak at a session on rejuvenating growth.

His trip comes ahead of deputy foreign secretary Andrew Mitchell’s visit to Riyadh to co-host the second UK-Saudi development dialogue and the launch of the GREAT Futures campaign, which will promote UK business in Saudi Arabia.

Updated: April 28, 2024, 11:01 PM