Britain to Detail Plan to Ban Asylum for Channel Migrants

LONDON — Britain’s government will set out details for a new law barring the entry of asylum seekers to the UK in small boats, a proposal that some refugee charities say could be impractical and criminalize the efforts of thousands of genuine refugees.

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak has made stopping boat arrivals one of his five key priorities after the number of migrants arriving on the south coast of England soared to more than 45,000 last year, with around 90% applying for asylum.

The new legislation will mean anyone who arrives on small boats will be prevented from claiming asylum and deported to so-called safe third countries, Sunak wrote in an article in The Sun tabloid newspaper on Tuesday.

The Refugee Council charity said tens of thousands of genuine refugees who would previously have been granted asylum would be “locked up like criminals” under the plans, which would “shatter” Britain’s commitments under the U.N. refugee convention.

The convention provides an avenue for a fair hearing for asylum seekers, no matter how they arrived in a country.

Anger over immigration in some areas has played a defining role in British politics over the last decade and was deployed successfully by campaigners as a tool to fuel support for Brexit ahead of the 2016 referendum.

“Those arriving on small boats aren’t directly fleeing a war-torn country or facing an imminent threat to life. Instead, they have travelled through safe, European countries before crossing the Channel,” Sunak said in the article.

“The fact that they can do so is unfair on those who come here legally and enough is enough.”

Just under two-thirds of those who arrive on small boats are granted asylum or another form of humanitarian protection, Home Office figures show.

While the number of applications for asylum in the UK hit a 20-year high of nearly 75,000 in 2022, it is still below the European Union average. Germany received more than 240,000 asylum applications last year.

Legal challenges

Opposition parties and charities have questioned whether the latest plans would be any more effective than previous attempts to deter people from making the Channel crossing, which has proved profitable for human traffickers and perilous for migrants. Four drowned in December when their boat capsized.

There are huge practical and legal issues to the government’s proposals, including where migrants can be deported to if they cannot claim asylum. The new legislation will also likely face legal challenges.

Sunak is trying to build a reputation as a leader who by mastering the detail can fix complex problems that have eluded his predecessors. But his comments about the new immigration plans have raised expectations that this will effectively end small-boat crossings.

Controlling immigration was the third-most important issue for voters after the economy and the running of the health service, polling by YouGov found in November, with 87% of the public saying the government was handling the issue badly.

Last year, former Prime Minister Boris Johnson agreed a deal to send tens of thousands of migrants — many having made the journey from Afghanistan, Syria or other countries torn apart by conflict — more than 6,400 kilometers away, to Rwanda.

But the first planned deportation flight was blocked in June by a last-minute injunction granted by the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR), and the strategy’s lawfulness was subsequently challenged at London’s High Court.

Rwanda only had one hostel to accept UK arrivals last year, with the capacity for 100 people, a fraction of those who arrive in the UK on small boats.

The court ruled it lawful in December, but opponents are seeking to appeal that verdict. It is expected the legal battle will end up in the UK Supreme Court and may not be resolved for months.

Sunak will meet with French President Emmanuel Macron on Friday, possibly seeking further cooperation in tackling the gangs involved in cross-Channel people smuggling.

Source: Voice of America

Saudi British Business Council to Organise Saudi British Forum for Clean Tech Tomorrow

London, The Saudi British Joint Business Council has announced that it will hold the Saudi British Forum for Clean Technology in London Wednesday, 150 innovators are expected to attend the event with the aim of finding clean technological solutions to face the environmental challenges.

British and Saudi companies will tackle clean technology in key sectors, work to curb carbon emissions, develop clean energy and battery technologies, wastes management, and water conservation.

Executive Director of the Saudi British Joint Business Council Chris Innes-Hopkins said he expects discussions on ways about technology that helps face environmental challenges and accelerate progress towards reaching zero emissions.

Discussion panels, communication opportunities and introductory presentations submitted by selected companies for investors are expected at the forum, which also aims at assisting small and medium companies reach new sources of growth capital and enhance partnerships between British and Saudi research institutions and innovation centres.

Source: Saudi Press Agency

Saudi-Swedish Parliamentary Friendship Committee of Shura Council Meets with Swedish Ambassador to Kingdom

Riyadh, The Saudi-Swedish Parliamentary Friendship Committee of the Shura Council held today a meeting at the council headquarters in Riyadh with Swedish Ambassador to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia Petra Menander.

During the meeting, the two sides reviewed bilateral relations between the two countries and means to boost them in various economic, commercial, and educational fields. They also discussed ways to enhance cooperation in parliamentary relations between the Shura Council and the Swedish Parliament and activate the role of parliamentary friendship committees in the two countries to support cooperation between the two friendly countries.

Source: Saudi Press Agency

Mohammed bin Salman Nonprofit City Signs Agreement with IHG Hotels & Resorts

Riyadh, Mohammed bin Salman Nonprofit City and IHG Hotels & Resorts – a leading hotels company in the world – signed an agreement to administrate the establishment of a new branch of Hotel Indigo in the Irqah neighborhood, which is adjacent to the Wadi Hanifah in Riyadh.

The hotel will be located next to the city’s “Mishraq district” – the second largest zone in the Mohammed bin Salman Nonprofit City and the city’s vital hub – connecting it to residential areas, public facilities, and flexible workplaces for innovators and creators, forming a community space for business, living, and leisure. The city also has a vibrant main street that offers a 15-minute walk to high-end restaurants overlooking Wadi Hanifah and many other views of Riyadh.

The Mohammed bin Salman Nonprofit City is the world’s first nonprofit city, an inspiring model for developing the global nonprofit sector, and an incubator of youth complexes and local and international institutions that support innovation, entrepreneurship, and future leaders.

Source: Saudi Press Agency

IAAPA Middle East Trade Summit Kicks off in Riyadh

Riyadh, The IAAPA Middle East Trade Summit began today in Riyadh with the attendance of hundreds of local and international investors in the entertainment sector and its affiliated fields.

The two-day forum, organized by the General Entertainment Authority (GEA) in partnership with the International Association of Amusement Parks and Attractions (IAAPA), has seen a large turnout of attendees from 40 countries around the world who have come to gain knowledge and exchange expertise with entertainment industry leaders.

In a speech at the forum, Jim Pattison, Chairman of the IAAPA Board, highlighted the GEA’s support and initiatives that stimulate growth and enhance development in the Kingdom. Meanwhile, Peter van der Schans, IAAPA’s Executive Director and Vice President of the EMEA region, expressed his gratitude to the GEA for supporting the first-of-its-kind forum which, he added, is the outcome of the partnership between the authority and the IAAPA.

The forum aims to showcase the latest international developments and innovations in the entertainment industry, as well as discuss the challenges facing the sector and formulate solutions to address them.

The forum falls within the GEA’s keenness to improve the Kingdom’s entertainment sector and meet the growing turnout at events organized across the country.

Source: Saudi Press Agency

Foreign Minister Participates in Roundtable Meeting of British Chatham House

London, Prince Faisal bin Farhan bin Abdullah, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, participated today in a roundtable meeting organized by the Royal Institute of International Affairs, Chatham House, during his official visit to the United Kingdom.

Discussions during the meeting went over the historic and strategic Saudi-British relations and the developments the Kingdom is witnessing under the Saudi Vision 2030.

The meeting also discussed the Russian-Ukrainian crisis, Riyadh’s leading role in achieving peace in the Middle East, and its efforts in supporting security and development in Yemen, in addition to the latest developments in Iran’s nuclear file.

Prince Khalid bin Bandar bin Sultan bin Abdulaziz, Saudi Ambassador to the United Kingdom, also attended the meeting.

Source: Saudi Press Agency

Sultan of Oman Receives Telephone Call from US President

Muscat, Sultan Haitham bin Tariq of Oman received today a telephone call from US President Joe Biden.

During the call, they reviewed relations between the two countries and ways of enhancing and developing them in all fields as well as views on a number of regional and international issues of common concern.

Source: Saudi Press Agency


UN Special Coordinator for Lebanon, Joanna Wronecka, stressed, in a tweet on Tuesday, the responsibility of the Lebanese leaders to enable the state institutions.

“State institutions should be responsive to people’s needs. The current crisis in Lebanon further underlines the responsibility of the political leaders to enable and empower state institutions to deliver,” she tweeted

Source: National News Agency


The Israeli enemy has targeted Aleppo International Airport with missiles as the airport went out of service.

‘At 02:07 a.m. on Tuesday, the Israeli enemy carried out an aerial act of aggression from the direction of the Mediterranean, west of Lattakia, targeting Aleppo International Airport, which led to material damage at the airport as it went out of service,’ a military source said in a statement to SANA

Source: National News Agency


Maronite Patriarch Beshara Rahi is currently meeting with Saudi Ambassador to Lebanon, Waleed Bukhari, in Bkerki.

Source: National News Agency