Lord Tariq Ahmad, the UK Minister of State for the Middle East, North Africa, South Asia and the United Nations at the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO), is this week visiting Israel for the first time in his official capacity.
In his visit thus far, Lord Ahmad met with Finance Minister Nir Barkat and Foreign Minister Eli Cohen and expressed a strong commitment to Israel and the UK's trade and investment relations.
In the meeting with Cohen, Lord Ahmad stressed his support for a two-state solution, later sharing this message on his Twitter.
A productive first meeting with Israeli Foreign Minister @elicoh1 . We agreed on the need to tackle the threat posed by Iran, Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the importance of the #AbrahamAccords, and I reiterated support for a two-state solution. pic.twitter.com/WuQLE27vAw— Lord (Tariq)Ahmad of Wimbledon (@tariqahmadbt) January 11, 2023
On his first official trip to Israel in this position, Lord Ahmad shared his excitement at returning to east Jerusalem.
Pleased to be back in East Jerusalem after 4 years. Looking forward to a busy programme of key meetings and seeing the impact of the work of @UKinJerusalem for Palestinians across the OPTs, including here in East Jerusalem. pic.twitter.com/Y4o7sfhZU6— Lord (Tariq)Ahmad of Wimbledon (@tariqahmadbt) January 11, 2023
Lord Ahmad met with the Palestinian Foreign Minister Riyad al-Maliki during his time in east Jerusalem.
British lord commits to Palestinian people
In a tweet, the Lord publicly expressed his support for the Palestinian people and concern at the escalation of violence in the West Bank.
In light of the recent controversy surrounding Itamar Ben-Gvir, the UK Ministry has also taken this opportunity to assert its belief that the Temple Mount should remain under Jordanian control.
A useful meeting with Palestinian Foreign Minister Malki in Ramallah following our discussion in London last month. I stressed our commitment to the Palestinian people & the bilateral relationship, & emphasised our concern at recent violence in the OPTs that fuels instability. pic.twitter.com/wHKsPSg9p3— Lord (Tariq)Ahmad of Wimbledon (@tariqahmadbt) January 11, 2023
It is unclear if Lord Ahmad reiterated his support for a two-state solution to the Palestinian foreign minister, who has previously warned that a two-state solution is no longer viable.
"During his time in the Old City of Jerusalem, Lord Ahmad will...reiterate the importance of the Status Quo and Jordanian custodianship over the Holy Sites in Jerusalem."British Consulate-General Jerusalem
Lord Ahmad to visit UNRWA school
Lord Ahmad also visited a United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) school, where he announced £3.7m in additional funding from the UK government.
The UNRWA is a UN agency that has previously been criticized for funding, planning and delivering lessons that support terrorism and antisemitism. These controversial activities include venerating Adolf Hitler.
In addition to his ministerial role, Lord Ahmad is also the UK Prime Minister’s Special Representative on Preventing Sexual Violence in Conflict.
He was employed as Prime Minister’s Special Envoy for Freedom of Religion or Belief from 2018 to 2019,Minister for Aviation and Trade, Department for Transport from 2016 to 2017, Minister for Countering Extremism, Home Office from 2015 to 2016, Transport Minister, Skills & Aviation Security from 2015 to 2016, Communities & Local Government Minister from 2014 to 2015, Government Whip and Lord in Waiting from 2012 to 2014, Vice-Chairman (national) of the Conservative Party from 2008 and 2010 and the Councillor of Wimbledon Park and Cabinet Member in the London Borough of Merton from 2002 to 2012.