#AceNewsServices – LONDON – Dec.06 – Britain is to establish its first permanent military base in the Middle East since it formally withdrew from the region in 1971 BBC News reported.
‘UK to establish £15m permanent Mid East military base-Screenshot from 2014-12-06 12:39:04 ‘
The base, at the Mina Salman Port in Bahrain, will host ships including destroyers and aircraft carriers.
The UK said it was an “expansion of the Royal Navy’s footprint” and would “reinforce stability” in the Gulf.
Bahrain will pay most of the £15m ($23m) needed to build the base, with the British paying ongoing costs.
UK Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond, who signed the deal at a security conference in Manama, Bahrain, said it was “just one example of our growing partnership with Gulf partners to tackle shared strategic and regional threats”.
He said the move “builds upon our 30-year track record of Gulf patrols”.
BBC security correspondent Frank Gardner there was already a “rotating presence” of four British minesweepers at the Mina Salman Port, but the UK had been “piggybacking” on the US naval base there.
He said the new facility would be one of the most important Royal Navy bases in the world and would be used for a “whole host of things” including supporting UK operations in Iraq, where RAF jets have been attacking targets as part of a US-led coalition against Islamic State (IS) militants.
The base would also be used for operations against piracy and for aerial surveillance, he added.
‘ UK-US-Refuse-To-Sign-UN-Document-Condemning-The-Human-Rights-Abuses-In-Bahrain ‘
Although as HRW reported Bahrain’s human rights record regressed further in key areas in 2013 and the government made little real progress regarding reforms it claimed to pursue.Security forces continued to arrest scores of individuals arbitrarily in towns where anti-government protests regularly take place. Continuing reports of torture and ill-treatment in detention were consistent with the findings of the 2011 Bahrain Independent Commission of Inquiry (BICI).
Britain and the United States have refused to sign a UN document condemning the ongoing human rights abuses in Bahrain, local media report.
Some major European countries including Germany and France signed the document adopted by the UN Human Rights Council, and called on the tiny Persian Gulf island nation to do more to protect civil liberties in the country.
The government’s failure to implement key recommendations of the BICI stand in contrast to its claims it is making progress on human rights.
The judicial system, headed by ruling family members, has yet to hold any senior official responsible for serious human rights violations that have occurred since 2011, including torture-related deaths in detention.