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Oman: Britain may deploy troops to UAE, despite human rights concerns
British troops may be deployed to the United Arab Emirates, UK Prime Minister David Cameron said as he concluded a two-day visit to a military base in Helmand, Afghanistan Friday, according to Bloomberg news.
The announcement appears to have been triggered by the UAE expressing interest in ordering up to 60 Eurofighter Typhoon combat jets from the UK.
“What you're seeing specifically with the UAE is not just a plan to sell Typhoon aircraft, but a big significant defense cooperation which could, yes, lead to British troops stationed in their country,” Cameron told reporters in Camp Bastion, Afghanistan before boarding a flight to Oman, which has just purchased 12 Typhoons.
“This is an exciting possibility for both countries to have a proper strategic defense relationship.”
The PM visited the UAE and Saudi Arabia last month, reportedly to push through the Typhoon sales.
The November visit came days after the UAE's Federal National Council expressed shock over a European Parliament resolution calling on the Persian Gulf state to rectify human rights abuses, following the arrest and reported torture of 64 people tied to the Islamist Islah group.
According to the UK's Channel 4, the Campaign Against the Arms Trade (CAAT) warned that Cameron is sending a clear message of support by arming repressive states. "Despite everything that has happened in the last two years, the UK government continues to bolster authoritarian regimes with weapon sales and to spend taxpayers' money on promoting further deals," CAAT spokesperson Henry McLaughlin said.
Earlier this week, the chief of the UK defense staff General David Richards indicated that British joint-forces units will spend longer periods of time deployed in the Gulf.
The UK already has naval vessels and a command unit in Bahrain, as well as aircraft in the UAE and Qatar.
Cameron said the prospective Typhoon sale to the UAE is “looking good.”
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