The UK and Oman have signed a Joint Defence Agreement guaranteeing future British access to Duqm Port and associated logistics and training facilities.
The port is the only naval facility in the region large enough to support Britain’s new aircraft carriers, HMS QUEEN ELIZABETH and HMS PRINCE OF WALES.
In October 2018, UK defence minister Mark Lancaster officially opened the Joint Logistics Support Base at Duqm, designed to support UK forces operating and exercising in Oman and the region. A new joint military training area will also be established in the country this year.
Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson said the new agreement brings Britain even closer to one of its most important partners.
He said: “This is an historic landmark moment between our two nations and is a significant reinforcement of our mutual security. Gulf security is our security, and it is crucial that we expand our horizons and become a truly global Britain after we leave the European Union.”
His Excellency Sayyid Bader bin Saud bin Harib Al-Busaidi, the Omani Minister Responsible for Defence Affairs, added: “This agreement culminates the efforts of both countries’ leaderships to enhance the existing bilateral cooperation and the strategic partnership between them. It is a milestone in the history of both nations.
“The signing of this agreement today reaffirms the importance of optimizing the joint military efforts to ensure the security and stability of both friendly countries and pave the way for more cooperation in the field of defence and joint exercises in pursuance of the agreement objectives.”
In October and November last year, the UK’s armed forces and members of the Omani military took part in Exercise Saif Sareea 3, the largest joint exercise for 17 years. A total of 5,500 British troops travelled to Oman to display their land, air and sea capabilities.
Britain’s Ministry of Defence said the new defence agreement would provide “a launch pad” to deepen defence co-operation, with both nations working together to develop capabilities and promote regional stability.
Main image: UK defence secretary Gavin Williamson with Badr Bin Saud Bin Harib Al Busaidi, Oman’s Minister Responsible for Defence Affairs. © Crown copyright published under Open Government Licence v3.0.