الأربعاء , يونيو 10 2020

Work begins on UK's new UK Mid-East base

Media captionFrank Gardner reports on the inauguration of HMS Juffair in Bahrain

Work has begun to construct Britain’s first new permanent military base in the Middle East since 1971.

Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond and naval personnel attended a ceremony to mark the start of construction of HMS Juffair at Mina Salman Port in Bahrain.

The establishment is being developed to support Royal Navy deployments in the Gulf through the creation of a permanent and improved base.

Mr Hammond said it showed the UK’s commitment to the region.

‘Not perfect’

Mr Hammond said: “The presence of the Royal Navy in Bahrain is guaranteed into the future, ensuring Britain’s sustained presence east of Suez.

“The new facility will enable Britain to work with our allies to reinforce stability in the Gulf and beyond.”

Image copyright
AP

Image caption

Philip Hammond and Bahraini Foreign Minister Sheikh Khalid bin Ahmed Al Khalifa laid the first cornerstone of the new base

Bahrain has been criticised over allegations of serious human rights abuses, but Mr Hammond said the UK was helping the Persian Gulf State to change.

He said: “Bahrain is not perfect by any means, but it at least knows what it has to do and it is taking steps to do it.

In some cases, he said, the state’s authorities were “seeking our support to help them reform., for example, their police force, their judicial system, their prison service… to gradually improve the standards and bring it closer to what we would expect to see.”

The BBC’s security correspondent Frank Gardner said the UK’s growing military commitment to the Gulf was “likely to remain controversial”.

Its opponents and backers would expect to expect to see “tangible progress to reform”, he added.

Bahrain has paid most of the £15m ($23m) needed to build the base, with the British paying ongoing costs.

شاهد أيضاً

COPTIC SOLIDARITY LAUNCHES URGENT CALL TO END CRIME OF FORCED DISAPPEARANCE OF COPTIC WOMEN IN EGYPT

A Coptic woman, Ranya Abd al-Masih (“servant of Christ”), 39, disappeared in Egypt on April 22, 2020, …