UK to establish navy base in Bahrain

07 December 2014

Mina Salman base will be first permanent presence in the region since 1971

The UK and Bahrain signed a deal at the Manama Dialogue on 6 December to establish a permanent Royal Navy base at Mina Salman Port.

Bahrain will provide $23m to construct the base with the UK covering ongoing costs.

The UK’s Royal Navy already maintains four minesweepers from Mina Salman. The new permanent base will allow it to base larger ships such as destroyers and aircraft carriers in the region, and maintain and service ships there.

“This is a clear statement of Britain’s commitment to our sustained presence East of Suez,” said UK Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond, speaking at a security conference in Manama. “It’s another example of our growing partnership with Gulf allies to tackle the threats we face together.”

The deal “reaffirms our joint determination to maintain regional security and stability in the face of challenging circumstances,” said Bahrain’s Foreign Minister Shaikh Khalid bin Ahmad al-Khalifa.

The step comes as the rise of extremist group Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, and ongoing tensions with Iran over its nuclear programme and support of Shia groups, have destablised the region.

Bahrain has hosted a US Naval Forces base since 1971, when the Royal Navy base was transferred to it.

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