New deal sees UK forces secure use of Oman's Duqm port

Britain and Oman have signed a new agreement allowing the Royal Navy use of facilities at Duqm Port.

During a two-day visit to Oman, Britain's defence secretary Sir Michael Fallon met with His Excellency Sayyid Badr bin Saud bin Harib Al Busaidi, Oman's minister responsible for defence affairs. The pair signed a Memorandum of Understanding and Services Agreement, strengthening already close ties between the two countries.

Duqm's dry dock is able to accommodate submarines and the UK's flagship, HMS Queen Elizabeth – the largest and most powerful warship ever built for the Royal Navy. From Duqm, the ship will be able to project influence across the region. She'll fulfil multiple roles from providing air power to supporting allies, or delivering humanitarian aid. The port itself provides Britain with a hub from which to tackle issues such as the fight against Daesh.

Defence Secretary Sir Michael Fallon signs an agreement on defence cooperation with His Excellency Sayyid Badr bin Saud bin Harib Al BusaidiPlans to build a UK Joint Logistics Support Base at Duqm were also reaffirmed during the visit. The multi-million pound joint venture between British defence company Babcock International and Oman Drydock Company will give the UK a permanent training facility and a key military logistics centre in the region.

In a statement, the Ministry of Defence said the complex at Duqm provides "significant opportunity to the defence, security and prosperity agendas for both the UK and Oman".

Sir Michael added: "This agreement ensures British engineering expertise will be involved in developing Duqm as a strategic port for the Middle East, benefiting the Royal Navy and others.

"Oman is a longstanding British ally and we work closely across diplomatic, economic and security matters. Our commitment to the Duqm Port project highlights the strength of our relationship."