UK Signs Joint Defence Agreement with Oman
New Duqm Base and Joint Training Area Form Key Aspects of Agreement
The UK and Oman have signed a new Joint Defence Agreement (JDA), signifying Britain’s commitment to security in the Gulf for years to come. The Secretary of State for Defence, Gavin Williamson, travelled to Oman to sign the Joint Defence Agreement with Oman’s Minister Responsible for Defence Affairs, Badr Bin Saud Bin Harib Al Busaidi.
The Islamic Sultanate of Oman holds a strategically important position at the mouth of the Persian Gulf. Oman’s oil reserves of 5.5 billion barrels is the 25th largest in the world.
The Defence Secretary welcomed the signing as an historic landmark moment between the two nations and a significant reinforcement of their mutual security.
Britain represents Gulf security as a cornerstone of British security, especially as Brexit forces the UK to look beyond the European Union for its role in the world.
Culmination of Saif Sareea 3
The JDA follows the culmination of Exercise Saif Sareea 3, which was held in Oman during October and November 2018. It was the largest exercise by the UK’s military since Saif Sareea 2, 17 years previously, with 5,500 troops travelling to Oman to display their land, air and sea capabilities. The JDA provides a launch pad to deepen defence co-operation, with both nations working together to develop capabilities and promote regional stability.
Duqm Joint Logistics Support Base
The UK and Oman have a long-standing and historic relationship, dating back more than 200 years. More recently, the British Joint Logistics Support Base in Duqm opened last year and the Defence Secretary announced during his visit to Saif Sareea 3 that a new joint military training area will be established in the country this year. The UK is committed to the development of Duqm Port and this is part of the UK’s defence commitment to the region to ensure that our operations are agile.
Omani-British Joint Training Area
Additionally the new Omani-British Joint Training Area will ensure the UK is building a world-class military force alongside Omani counterparts, building on UK-Omani joint learning from Saif Sareea 3.
Oman Part of Bahrain and Qatar Regional Allies
The Agreement will ensure that these facilities are available for use long into the future, allowing the UK to maintain a presence in the Region. This includes a new Naval Support Facility in Bahrain and our ongoing co-operation at Al Udeid in Qatar.
It also builds on the Prime Minister’s commitment to the Freedom of Navigation, economic stability and security in the Gulf.
The Ministry of Defence intends to spending £3 billion across the Gulf in the next 10 years.
His Excellency Sayyid Bader bin Saud bin Harib Al-Busaidi, the Omani Minister Responsible for Defence Affairs, rubbed his hands, saying:
“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.”
Image: a Challenger 2 Main Battle Tank of the 3rd Troop D Squadron of the Royal Dragoon Guards (RDG) is tested to the limit as it ploughs through the sands of the Omani desert – in the training area north of Thumbrait – during Exercise SAIF SAREEA II. The Regiment is part of Exercise Saif Sareea II, a bi-lateral military Exercise in Oman. More than 20,000 troops have been deployed from the UK and Germany to train alongside Omani forces in a variety of roles. Photograph by WO2 Pete Bristo, MBE (Crown Copyright).