Mid East investment boost needed after Brexit: report
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.”