Labour’s shadow Lords FCDO spokesperson, Lord Collins of Highbury

In today’s House of Lords debate on UK support for the Abraham Accords, two Labour peers urged the UK government to more proactively support the Accords on the global stage.

Lord Mendelsohn declared the Accords “one of the single most transformational moments in the Middle East”, and urged the UK government to play a greater role and “fully engage” with the Israeli-Arab normalisation process as a means of the UK ensuring its place “at the real heart of shaping the international order of the future” and as a means of bolstering the UK’s “security interests”.

He went on to argue that it was “absolutely vital for us to engage properly” with the Abraham Accords and other Israeli-Arab collaborations, including the Negev forum, “which is in a sense the diplomatic and economic grunt-work of this process”. Comparing the UK’s lacklustre approach to that of the Biden administration, Lord Mendelsohn concluded, “I really hope that the Minister will agree that the UK could consider engaging with it much more as a forum, an opportunity and as a strategic interest for our country. That is the most important and vital step we need to take.”

Later, Labour’s shadow FCDO spokesperson in the House of Lords, Lord Collins of Highbury, reiterated the party’s support for the Abraham Accords, calling them “an important step forward” and welcomed their having “improved the economic prosperity of the countries involved” and “facilitated co-operation and positive dialogue”.

He made clear Labour’s view that the UK should “use its strategic influence in the Middle East and north Africa to offer political leadership for peace and reinforce the Abraham accords”, as well as expressing a hope that the Accords could form a “a springboard for meaningful and lasting peace to be negotiated between the Israelis and the Palestinians”.

Lord Collins continued: “Will the Minister outline how he believes the improvement in relations between Israel and its neighbours can be used to bring about a renewed focus on a peace process for Israel and Palestine? As my noble friend Lord Mendelsohn mentioned, neither the Government’s integrated review nor the refresh mentioned the Abraham accords, so how will the Minister ensure that the UK’s approach to the Middle East and north Africa is co-ordinated and that the UK’s international policy is fully aligned? I certainly believe that they are a positive move and I hope will form a positive start for peace”.

You can read the full debate here.