Millennium Post

Theresa May to outline post-Brexit vision for UK role in Middle East

BAGHDAD: Theresa May is to complete a trip to the Middle East by setting out her post-Brexit vision for the UK's role in the region in a major speech in Jordan, outlining both UK efforts to combat Islamic State and wider, long-term help on economic and social reforms.

The prime minister is due to address an audience including Jordan's prime minister, Hani al-Mulki, and much of his cabinet, at the end of a three-day visit that also saw her hold talks in Saudi Arabia on Yemen and make a surprise visit to Iraq. In talks in Baghdad on Wednesday, May spoke to the Iraqi prime minister, Haider al-Abadi, about the recapture of Mosul from Isis fighters, also meeting UK troops who had trained Iraqi forces who took part in the battle.
May is expected to highlight the threat posed by dispersing Isis fighters, some of whom have massed near the north of Jordan. There is also the risk of more returning to Britain – government figures estimate that around 850 UK-linked people of national security concern have travelled to the region to fight, with just under half having returned so far.
The prime minister is due to cover this threat in a part of the speech dealing with more direct security assistance in the region, also including training for Iraqi forces to clear Mosul and Raqqa of explosive devices left by Isis as it fled, and more security assistance for Jordan.
Jordan is seen by the UK as a vital bulwark in the region, but it is struggling with the impact of many thousands of Syrian refugees as well as high youth unemployment in a country where half the population is aged 24 or less. May will also announce efforts to help the Jordanian economy in the longer term, including £60m in new grants, especially connected to education.

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