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 Ministry of Defence (MoD) announced on 21 February.
The JDA follows the culmination of Exercise Saif Sareea 3, held in Oman in October-November, which was the largest exercise by the UK’s military since Saif Sareea 2, 17 years previously, with 5,500 troops travelling to Oman to exercise their land, air and sea capabilities. The JDA provides a launch pad to strengthen defence co-operation, with both nations working together to develop capabilities and promote regional stability.
Britain and Oman have a long-standing historic relationship, dating back over 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.
Additionally, the new Omani-British Joint Training Area will ensure the UK is building a world-class military force alongside Omani counterparts, building on our joint learning from Saif Sareea 3.
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 the UK's ongoing cooperation at Al Udeid in Qatar. It also builds on the Prime Minister’s commitment to freedom of navigation, economic stability and security in the Gulf. The MoD is committed to spending £3 billion across the Gulf over the next 10 years.
“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 optimising 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,” stated the Omani Minister Responsible for Defence Affairs, His Excellency Sayyid Bader bin Harib Al-Busaidi.
“Gulf security is our security, and it is crucial that we expand our horizons and become a truly global Britain after we leave the European Union,” added Mr Williamson.