“The deal which was signed on Friday aims at developing a facility at the Bahrain Defence Force (BDF) base at Mina Salman, which would provide military facilities to the British Royal Navy”, he said.
This came as he received at Sakhir Palace British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond (photo) and The Secretary of State for Defence Michael Fallon marking their visit to Bahrain to attend the 10th edition of Manama Dialogue which took place on 5-7 December 2014.
HM the King underscored the importance of the agreement which, he said, represents a crucial addition to further bolster solid bilateral relations that date back to almost 100 years ago.
“The agreement would contribute to expanding the prospects of military and defence cooperation between Bahrain and Britain”, he said, hailing the historical role of the UK, whether with Bahrain or with other countries in the region, as decades-long partners in maintaining security and peace in this strategic part of the world.
Under the agreement, the British Ministry of Defence (MoD) said onshore facilities at the Mina Salman Port in Bahrain, where Britain bases four mine-hunter warships on a permanent basis, would be improved.
The base, which will now be expanded to include a new forward operating base and a place to plan, store equipment for naval operations and accommodate Royal Navy personnel, is used to support British Destroyers and Frigates in the Gulf.
“This new base is a permanent expansion of the Royal Navy's footprint and will enable Britain to send more and larger ships to reinforce stability in the Gulf,” said British Defence Secretary Michael Fallon.
“We will now be based again in the Gulf for the long term,” he added.
The US Navy's Fifth Fleet is also based in Bahrain.
The British Foreign Secretary welcomed the military arrangement which was signed between the two countries, saying that the security of Bahrain is an integral part of Britain’s security. He reiterated his country’s keenness on developing bilateral relations with the Kingdom of Bahrain in all fields.
Source: BNA; Reuters