|Al Hamiri: The UAE Engages R2 Among Other Contractors|
|Tue, 17 May 2011 07:56|
International contractors providing planning, training, development and operational support have been integral to the successful development of UAE's military capability, a UAE official statement said.
The statement, carried by the official WAM news agency, follows a New York Times report that the UAE has hired the services of the founder of private security firm Blackwater Worldwide to set up an 800-member battalion of foreign troops.
The Times said it obtained documents that showed the unit being formed by Erik Prince's new company Reflex Responses (R2) with $529 million from the UAE would be used to thwart internal revolt, conduct special operations and defend oil pipelines and skyscrapers from attack.
The statement by General Juma Ali Khalaf Al Hamiri, Head of HR and Administration, GHQ, UAE Armed Forces, said: 'The United Arab Emirates Armed Forces have been through an accelerated and extensive process of development and Emiratisation since their creation at the founding of the UAE four decades ago. The result is that the UAE armed forces have been able to make meaningful and significant contributions in theatres of operations such as Kosovo, Iraq, Afghanistan and most recently Libya.'
At the heart of the successful approach have been strong alliances within the international community and in part the sourcing of expertise through the private sector, the statement said.
'Importantly these third parties have also played significant roles in supporting the UAE Armed Forces in training Iraqi and Afghani Security Forces with the aim of contributing to the stability of both countries,' it said.
The UAE Armed Forces currently engage a number of third parties, such as Spectre, which delivers academy training capabilities; Horizon, a pilot training partner and R2 which provides operational, planning and training support, the statement said.
'As you would expect of a proactive member of the international community, all engagements of commercial entities by the UAE Armed Forces are compliant with international law and relevant conventions,' it said.
The UAE Armed Force has over 40,000 Emirati personnel.
Sources: WAM; New York Times