Sir Nigel Sheinwald, British ambassador to the United States, paid his respects to the Carter Center June 3 with a speech on conflict prevention and resolution that focused primarily on the Middle East and the future of the Palestinian Authority.

“The truth is that, although the Palestinian issue did not bring Al Qaida and Islamic fundamentalism into being, nevertheless its resolution would — more than any other single achievement — help us defeat the extremists’ narrative and restore confidence in the international community,” he said.

He also said that the United Kingdom was supporting the Palestinian economy and new businesses as part of its peace initiative. It co-sponsored in Israel the Bethlehem Investment Conference in May at which more than 1,000 business leaders from across the Middle East, the U.S. and Europe pledged their support.

“Two hundred projects, worth up to $2 billion, have been put forward, which will create badly needed jobs and infrastructure,” he said.

He added that the U.K. announced a $6 million pledge at the conference to encourage business investment in the Palestinian economy. In addition, Britain is to further contribute up to $500 million over the next three years.

“We have already provided $110 million of this so far this year,” he said. “Furthermore, Britain has also committed $20 million towards building 30,000 affordable homes in the West Bank over the next five years.”

Meanwhile, the U.K. is to remain “a staunch friend of Israel,” he said. “The bedrock of the U.K.’s approach to resolving the Arab-Israeli conflict is threefold: first, support for a two-state solution; second, support for those who are committed to peaceful progress in the region and third, to promote economic and social development across the Palestinian territories.”

Sir Nigel was introduced by John Stremlau, vice president of peace programs at the Carter Center, who thanked him for the U.K.’s generosity to the center with contributions of some $11 million since its founding in 1982.

“As I speak to you today, the center has recently celebrated its 25th anniversary and there can be few institutions in the field of human rights and global health with such a high reputation. That is a tribute to the center but also, and especially, to the work and dedication of President and Mrs. Carter themselves,” Sir Nigel said in response to Dr. Stremlau’s comments.

The ambassador’s speech was wide-ranging, addressing current affairs in both the Middle East and Africa.

“The Middle East peace process is closely associated with this center and former President Carter in particular, and is just as important today to the international system as it was when the center was founded,” he said.

To read the full speech go to

As managing editor of Global Atlanta, Trevor has spent 15+ years reporting on Atlanta’s ties with the world. An avid traveler, he has undertaken trips to 30+ countries to uncover stories on the perils...