The UK Government has signed a Joint Defence Agreement (JDA) with Oman to enhance defence co-operation for joint capabilities and promote regional stability in the Gulf.
The agreement was signed by UK Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson and his Oman counterpart Badr Bin Saud Bin Harib Al Busaidi during the former’s visit to Oman.
Over the next ten years, the UK Ministry of Defence (MOD) is planning to spend £3bn across the Gulf to promote economic stability and security.
Williamson said: “It is a pleasure to sign this agreement, bringing us even closer to one of our most important partners. 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.”
The JDA comes after the UK and the Omani Armed Forces recently concluded a combined military training exercise Saif Sareea 3. Held in Oman between October and November, the exercise involved 5,500 UK military personnel alongside more than 60,000 Omanis from the Sultan’s Armed Forces.
During the exercise, the UK Government unveiled plans to set up a joint military training area in Oman this year in an effort to build a strong military force alongside Omani counterparts.
In addition, the facilities will ensure the UK maintains a presence in the region. As part of the greater plans to boost its commitment to the Gulf region, the UK is developing a naval support facility in Bahrain.
Al-Busaidi said: “This agreement culminates the efforts of both countries’ leadership to enhance the existing bilateral cooperation and the strategic partnership between them.
“The signing of this agreement today reaffirms the importance of optimising 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.”