Oman and Britain to open joint military training base

UK Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson riding in a British Challenger II tank in Oman. (Ministry of Defence Twitter)
Updated 05 November 2018
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Oman and Britain to open joint military training base

  • UK defence secretary Gavin Williamson made the announcement after large-scale exercises in the sultanate
  • Earlier this year, Britain opened a permanent military base in Bahrain

LONDON: Oman and Britain will open a joint military training base next year to help counter the activities of hostile states and extremist groups.

UK Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson said the base would open in March.

He made the announcement as he visited the country to observe the end of a large-scale joint military exercise involving tens of thousands of personnel practicing desert combat.

“Our relationship with Oman is built on centuries of cooperation and we are cementing that long into the future with the opening of our new joint base,” Williamson said.

“This has never been more important as malign activity by hostile states and violent extremist organisations seek to undermine stability and subvert the rules based order on which we all rely.”

Earlier this year, Britain opened a permanent military base in Bahrain.

The Al Saif Al Sareea 3 military exercises included 70,000 defence personnel from Oman and 5,500 soldiers, sailors, pilots and engineers from the British Armed Forces.

Military commanders from Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Kuwait, the UAE, Jordan and Egypt on Friday to attended the conclusion of Al Saif Al Sareea 3.

*With Reuters


Lebanon urges return of refugees to Syria

Updated 21 January 2019
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Lebanon urges return of refugees to Syria

  • President Michel Aoun tells Arab economic summit that Lebanon was overwhelmed by Syrian and Palestinian refugees
  • Aoun proposes creation of an Arab bank for reconstruction and development

BEIRUT: Lebanon used an Arab economic summit on Sunday to urge the return of refugees to safe areas of Syria after eight years of war.

President Michel Aoun told the meeting Lebanon was overwhelmed by Syrian and Palestinian refugees, who make up about half the population of a country struggling with an economic crisis.

He proposed the creation of an Arab bank for reconstruction and development “to help all affected Arab states overcome adversity and contribute to their sustainable economic growth.”

The meeting is the first economic and development summit since 2013, and comes as Syria, Yemen and Libya remain gripped by violence and Iraq confronts a massive reconstruction challenge after its costly victory over Daesh.

Arab League Secretary General Ahmed Aboul-Gheit said nearly half of all refugees “come from our Arab world.”

The emir of Qatar, and the president of Mauritania were the only heads of state from the 22-member Arab League who attended the summit. Other countries sent lower-level delegations.

The other leaders’ absence was a snub to Lebanon, where groups led by Hezbollah had insisted that Bashar Assad of Syria should be invited.

Several hundred people protested in the streets of Beirut on Sunday, blaming politicians for growing economic troubles.