The UK Government has signed a new defence arrangement with Bahrain to strengthen and expand existing military facilities in the country.
Signed by the UK Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond and his Bahraini counterpart Khalid bin Ahmed bin Mohammed Al-Khalifa, the arrangement will allow the UK to construct a forward operating base at the Bahrain Defence Force’s (BDF) Mina Salman Port.
The agreement will also provide the UK Royal Navy with a place to plan and store equipment for naval operations, and accommodate personnel.
Hammond said: "This will guarantee the presence of the Royal Navy in Bahrain well into the future.
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"The expansion of Britain’s footprint builds upon our 30-year track record of Gulf patrols and is just one example of our growing partnership with Gulf partners to tackle shared strategic and regional threats."
UK Defence Secretary Michael Fallon said: "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.
"We will now be based again in the Gulf for the long term."
Sheikh Khalid said: "It reaffirms our joint determination to maintain regional security and stability in the face of challenging circumstances, and gives further strength to our multifaceted partnership.
"Bahrain looks forward to the early implementation of today’s arrangement and to continuing to work with the UK and other partners to address threats to regional security."
The UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) already has four minehunter warships permanently based at Mina Salman Port.
Bahrain will pay most of the £15m needed for the construction of the base, with UK taking care of ongoing costs, BBC News reported.
Image: The UK Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond. Photo: Crown copyright.