News story: Defence Secretary to visit Middle East partners

Mr Hammond will arrive in the Gulf early on Tuesday to meet with foreign and defence ministers of the governments of Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait and Qatar.

The 2-day visit will be 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.

Speaking ahead of the visit Mr Hammond said:

The UK is deeply concerned by the recent developments in Iraq and the gains made by ISIL. Although the UK is not planning a military intervention, we are committed to finding a long-term political solution.

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.

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