A mum whose children were abducted from Portsmouth has been given new hope in her long fight to get them back.
Lacey Plato has endured four years of heartache since her former partner illegally took their son and daughter to Oman to live with his family.
It is 20 months since Lacey had any contact with the children. The family in Oman is telling people that he has gone to America and that the mother doesn’t want anything to do with them.Steve Grant
Now she has been encouraged by a pledge by a Foreign Office politician to raise the matter again with the Omani authorities.
Lacey and her dad Steve Grant urged action from Tobias Ellwood, Parliamentary Under Secretary of State for the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, in a meeting arranged by Portsmouth South MP Flick Drummond.
Mr Ellwood told them he would seek an opportunity to raise their case with the Omani ambassador to the UK.
Lacey’s children Aishah, 11, and Faris, eight, have been in Oman since 2012, when her former partner Usama Al-Barwani used a day visit to see the children in Portsmouth to take them straight out of the country on emergency documents.
He could not be arrested there as Oman is not part of the Interpol network, but was held at Heathrow Airport when he travelled to the UK in November 2014.
Lacey hoped that would be a breakthrough in her fight to get the children home - but suffered new anguish when her former partner refused to obey a High Court order to return the children.
He remains in jail in Britain with the children living with his family in Oman as a stalemate continues. Lacey is no longer able to make any contact with her children and has been informed that they were told she wanted nothing more to do with her.
Now the Omani authorities are to be urged again to help have Aishah and Faris, who are British citizens, returned to the UK.
Lacey said she was encouraged by the Foreign Office meeting, which followed more than 10,000 people signing an online petition urging Government action in the case.
She said: ‘Mr Ellwood said he would reach out to the Omani Ambassador to see if there is anything further he can do to have my children returned to the UK and he is also going to reach out to Usama and his family both here and in Oman to see if we can come to some kind of resolution.
‘The Government will also be requesting a welfare visit on the children as I haven’t spoken to them since November 2014.’
Her father said: ‘Hopefully something will come from it. It was good that not only did we see Tobias Ellwood but that also there were the Foreign Office official responsible for child abduction cases and the head of Middle East affairs.
‘We do feel encouraged that some progress is being made and we’re grateful to all the people who signed the petition and to Flick Drummond for her help.’