Mid East in­vest­ment boost needed after Brexit: re­port

The Jewish Chronicle - - NEWS - BY DANIEL SUGARMAN

A NEW re­port by think tank Bi­com has warned that if the UK wants to re­main an in­flu­en­tial power in the Mid­dle East af­terBrexit,itwill“in­evitably­have­toin­vest mor­eindiplo­mat­icmis­sions,cul­tur­aloutreach, trade, aid and mil­i­tary ca­pa­bil­i­ties.”

The pa­per, re­leased on Thurs­day, says that “main­tain­ing de­fence spend­ing at or above the two per cent Nato tar­get is also crit­i­cal… for sig­nalling the UK’s con­tin­ued global role, in­flu­ence and ca­pa­bil­ity, to US and Euro­pean al­lies, as much as to part­ners in the Mid­dle East.”

It rec­om­mends that the UK “deepen” its co-op­er­a­tion with the Gulf States, both in terms of se­cu­rity and by seek­ing “a com­pre­hen­sive free trade deal with the GCC [Gulf Co­op­er­a­tion Coun­cil] states.” It also calls for Bri­tain to adopt “a tougher ap­proach to Iran’s desta­bi­liz­ing re­gional ac­tiv­ity”.

Speak­ing to the JC, James Sorene, chief ex­ec­u­tive of­fi­cer of Bi­com, agreed that there was a sense of Bri­tain “hav­ing to prove it­self al­most a bit more”, but made it clear that de­spite Brexit, Bri­tain was still a ma­jor player.

He pointed to the fac­tors de­ter­min­ing UK in­flu­ence in the re­gion. “I think it’s … be­ing a Se­cu­rity Coun­cil Mem­ber, a mem­ber of the G7 and its his­toric role; [also] the UK is one of the top aid in­vestors, and that’s not go­ing to change.”

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