UK Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson riding in a British tank in Oman during exercise Saif Sareea 3. Image: UK Dept of Defence
Published in ArabianBusiness, on Nov 6th, 2018, By Bernd Debusmann Jr
5,500 British troops participated in a recent exercise in Oman, the UK’s largest in 17 years
The UK and Oman will open a new joint training base in the sultanate early next year.
The announcement came during a visit to Oman by UK defence secretary Gavin Williamson for the culmination of exercise Saif Sareea 3, the UK’s largest in 17 years.
“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.
Williamson added that the UK and Oman “stand as a beacon of stability in the region.”
“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,” he said.
British troops will deploy to the joint training base in March 2019 to work and train alongside Omani forces.
The recently concluded exercise involved 5,500 UK personnel from across the British military execute a set piece battle in a desert area of Oman.
During the visit, Williamson met with Oman’s Sultan Qaboos and Oman’s minister of defence affairs to signal his intent to sign a formal agreement of “enduring defence commitment” early next year, the MoD said in a statement.