UK plans economic, security, political partnerships with GCC


MANAMA: British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson reiterated his government’s plan to bolster military, economic, political ties with its partners in the Gulf region.

Just days after Prime Minister, Theresa May told the 37th GCC Summit in Manama that UK seeks bold ties with the GCC countries, the British Foreign Secretary in his keynote address at the 12th Manama Dialogue emphasised that any crisis in the Gulf is a crisis for Britain. “From day one; that your security is our security and that we recognise the wisdom of those who campaigned for a policy of engagement East of Suez – that your military, economic, political interests– are intertwined with our own.

“We are reopening HMS Jufair, a naval support facility here in Bahrain, which His Majesty the King said he remembered from his childhood before our disengagement we are renewing military ties with old friends: Britain’s Gulf Defence Staff is being located in Dubai. The Al-Minhad air base in the UAE provides a hub for the RAF. In Oman, the British Army is establishing a Regional Land Training centre – one of only four in the world – and creating a permanent present in the Sultanate of Oman.”

“That is why Britain has in total 1,500 military personnel in the region and 7 warships, more than any other Western nation apart from the US. We are spending £3 billion on our military commitments in the Gulf over the next 10 years and that is deepening a partnership that is stronger than with any other group of nations in the world outside NATO.

“Together with our allies in the Gulf, we are fighting together to defeat Daesh in Iraq and Syria, and we are winning. The RAF is the second biggest contributors to the airborne strike missions after the Americans. And together we have helped dramatically to reduce the footprint of that terrorist organisation.”

“We cooperate intensively with our friends in Saudi Arabia and elsewhere on counter-terrorism, in sharing military technology, in what is still a highly dangerous geopolitical landscape where the spores of terrorism can be incubated and are incubated not just in the Middle East, but in our own country as well. And it is absolutely right that we should so share and cooperate because our interests and our problems are shared.”

“We export colossal and ever growing numbers of Jaguar cars and Land Rovers. Marks and Spencer is here in force. I was told just now we have done a big deal to sell Rolls Royce engines to Gulf Air. And it really is true that for the purposes of some golf bunkers we have managed to export sand to Saudi Arabia. It’s true. And all that adds up to an export market for the UK in the Gulf region worth £20 billion per year, we sell more to the Gulf than any other non-EU export market, second only to the United States.”

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