Defence Secretary reinforces UK ties with Oman

The Defence Secretary Sir Michael Fallon has visited Oman as part of efforts to strengthen the relationship between the two countries and reaffirm plans for the multi-million pound joint venture at Duqm Port.

Sir Michael met with the Minister Responsible for Defence Affairs, His Excellency Sayyid Badar bin Saud bin Harub Al Busaidi, and signed a Memorandum of Understanding and Services Agreement in Muscat.

The deal grants the UK the use of facilities Duqm, ahead of the completion of the UK Joint Logistics Support Base at the port.

The UK Joint Logistics Support Base, is a multi-million pound joint venture between British defence company Babcock International and the Oman Drydock Company, that once completed will give the UK a permanent training facility in addition to a key military logistics centre in the Gulf.

The Duqm Port complex provides Britain with a strategically important and permanent maritime base east of Suez, but outside of the Gulf and with its dry dock capability, is able to accommodate submarines and the UK’s flagship, HMS Queen Elizabeth.

It is envisaged that through her presence at Duqm, the UK will be able to shape the development of the Naval facility to support its carrier capability and wider British security needs in the region.

Defence Secretary, Sir Michael Fallon, said: “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.”

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