British navy begins construction on new base in Bahrain

The British Royal Navy broke ground for a new base at Mina Salman Port in Bahrain Saturday in a ceremony attended by the U.K.’s foreign secretary and senior Royal Navy officials.

The Mina Salman Port will be the Royal Navy’s first permanent base in Bahrain since the U.K. withdrew British forces from Manama in 1971. The U.S. Navy took over that base and has built it up into the home of the U.S. Fifth Fleet.

The U.K.’s new base will operate in much the same way as the U.S.'s base does: as a forward-staging platform to project military force in the Middle Eastern region. The Mina Salman Port base is to become a central cog in the Royal Navy’s operations in the region. The permanent facility will allow longer deployments for British forces and give them the ability to perform more complicated tasks.

British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond said establishing the new base is a landmark move in securing the U.K.’s commitment to the region.

“The presence of the Royal Navy in Bahrain is guaranteed into the future, ensuring Britain’s sustained presence east of Suez,” Hammond said. “The new facility will enable Britain to work with our allies to reinforce stability in the Gulf and beyond.”

Bahraini and British officials see the base as affirmation of the two nations’ partnership in maintaining a secure and stable environment in the GCC zone.

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Foreign & Commonwealth Office - UK

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