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UK To Build New Base East Of Suez To Enhance Presence In Region

The UK has pledged a further £23.8 million to upgrade logistics facilities at Duqm Port in Oman.

The UK is preparing to make its presence known east of Suez once again.

Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said: “The long-standing friendships between the UK and the Gulf states are more important than ever. With shared defence and security interests, it is vital we work together for both regional and global stability. Our trade links are just as strong, too – from cotton to aerospace.

“Whether tackling Daesh, or making our streets in the UK safer thanks to our intelligence networks, these are hugely valuable relationships that I am pleased to be able to renew this week.”

Since the end of the Cold War, Britain has been increasingly engaged in operations in the Middle East. This has led to increased use of bases such as RAF Akrotiri and RAF Al Udeid. While investment has taken place with the opening of facilities such as HMS Jufair in Bahrain, until June of this year that port could only accommodate Mine Countermeasures Vessels (MCMV) and smaller. It still cannot support larger ships, such as the Queen Elizabeth-class carriers.

HMS Queen Elizabeth. Credit: Brian Burnell. Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International (CC BY-SA 4.0)

This is where Duqm Port enters the picture. Duqm Port has a deep enough harbour to accommodate every Royal Navy ship currently in service. The port has dry docks big enough to service the Queen Elizabeth-class carriers.

The investment made by the UK Government will see the size of the British base at the port triple, likely in anticipation of future operations in the area. Either way, it is a sign that Britain is once again committed to being a global power.