Lord Cameron to meet French and Italian leaders during tour of European capitals

Foreign Secretary Lord Cameron Credit: PA

Foreign Secretary Lord Cameron will visit Paris and Rome in a diplomatic blitz as he lobbies for unity in the European approach to the Israel-Hamas war, Ukraine and efforts to tackle unauthorised migration.

The former premier will meet with the leaders of France and Italy, Emmanuel Macron and Giorgia Meloni, as well as his foreign ministerial counterparts, during the trip on Tuesday.

It comes after Prime Minister Rishi Sunak met with Italian premier Giorgia Meloni on Saturday, with the Conservative Party leader warning that the threat of migration could “overwhelm” European states.

Prime Minister Rishi Sunak with Italy's Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni during the AI safety summit in November. Credit: PA

Ahead of his trip, Lord Cameron - who resigned as prime minister after the UK electorate voted to leave the European Union during the 2016 Brexit referendum - said Britain needed to “strengthen our alliances” in the face of global crises.

He said: “As we face some of the greatest challenges to international security in a lifetime, our response must be one of strength and resilience with our European allies.

“From the desperate humanitarian situation in Gaza, to Putin’s brutality in Ukraine, it is more important than ever to strengthen our alliances and make sure our voice is heard.”

The Foreign Office said Lord Cameron, who made a shock return to frontline politics last month, would use the trip to reiterate his call for a sustainable ceasefire in Gaza.

Foreign Secretary Lord David Cameron Credit: PA

He will also push for there to be increased co-ordination by European allies to ensure aid can get into the besieged strip.

Before he travelled, a group of Conservative MPs, including three former Cabinet ministers, wrote to the Foreign Secretary stating that the case for an immediate ceasefire in the Israel-Hamas conflict is “unanswerable”.

The Western approach to how Tel Aviv is conducting its military offensive against Hamas, the Palestinian militant group that rules Gaza and that carried out the October 7 assault on Israel, appears to be hardening.

Mr Sunak last week shifted his language to call for a “sustainable ceasefire”, calling for Hamas to stop firing rockets in Israel and release its hostages in exchange for aid.

The 10-week-old war has killed more than 19,000 Palestinians, according to the Hamas-run Gaza health ministry.

During his first stop in Paris, Lord Cameron will meet President Macron and foreign minister Catherine Colonna to discuss, according to officials, maintaining support for Ukraine and finding a long-term political solution in the Middle East.

French president Emmanuel Macron (centre) at the World Climate Action Summit in Dubai. Credit: PA

They will also broach how the UK and France can continue to co-ordinate their humanitarian responses in Gaza.

The Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) said the visit will also look ahead to a milestone year for UK-France relations in 2024.

Next year marks 120 years since the signing of the Entente Cordiale and 80 years since the D-Day landings that helped liberate Europe during the Second World War.

In Rome, Lord Cameron will hold talks with his counterpart, foreign minister Antonio Tajani, and address Italian ambassadors gathered at the Italian foreign ministry for their annual heads of mission conference.

The Cabinet minister will also meet with Ms Meloni, with efforts to tackle unauthorised migration at the top of the agenda for their discussions.

Officials said the pair will welcome a new agreement between the two countries, announced during Mr Sunak’s trip to the Italian capital on Saturday, to contribute £4 million to the International Organisation for Migration’s assisted voluntary returns project in Tunisia.

The FCDO said the joint funding will go towards providing humanitarian assistance and support for vulnerable and stranded migrants to return home safely.

Mr Sunak has made putting a stop to boats of migrants crossing the English Channel one of his top priorities ahead of an expected general election next year.

The prime minister is currently looking to pass an emergency law that seeks to prevent asylum seekers from legally contesting the Government’s plan of deporting some migrants to Rwanda in east Africa.

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