Bahraini Foreign Minister Shaikh Khalid Bin Ahmad Al Khalifa and British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond help lay a cornerstone for a new British military base being built in Manama on Saturday. Britain hasn’t had a permanent military base in Bahrain since its former colony declared independence from Britain in 1971, though close ties have continued. Image Credit: AP

Manama: King Hamad Bin Eisa Al Khalifa has welcomed the start of construction work on a British naval forces facility in Bahrain, describing the step as stemming from deep-rooted historic relations that date back more than 200 years.

Receiving UK Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs Philip Hammond, King Hamad hailed the move as reflecting the commitment of the United Kingdom to maintain security and stability in the region and pointed out that bilateral relations have always been marked by respect, coordination and joint consultation for the good of the two friendly countries and peoples, Bahrain News Agency (BNA) reported.

King Hamad affirmed Bahrain’s keen interest in expanding joint cooperation, reiterating support to all regional and international efforts to maintain security and stability and consolidate peace in the region.

King Hamad commended the UK-led role as well as crucial contribution to cementing regional security and stability and championing global peace.

Hammond and Minister of Foreign Affairs Shaikh Khalid Bin Ahmad Al Khalifa attended the ground-breaking ceremony for the establishment of the marine facilities headquarters in Bahrain.

Shaikh Khalid said that the move reflected the strong cooperation between the two countries in all areas, including regional security, and their keenness to bolster levels of cooperation to protect mutual interests.

He said that the UK was one of the key countries contributing to efforts to bolster security and stability in the region and the world in view of its strong ties with countries across the world, in addition to its openness and cooperation with constructive efforts and initiatives aimed at developing its relations with the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) states at various levels, BNA said.

He said the construction of the British marine facilities headquarters in the kingdom reflected the UK’s commitment towards the Kingdom of Bahrain and the region in general, which will strengthen the partnership between the two countries and enable military forces of both nations to carry out their duties effectively. This would positively reflect on improved regional security and peace as well as boost bilateral relations in various fields, he added.

Hammond praised Bahrain’s tangible efforts for the benefit of the region and its people, affirming his country’s keenness to support its relations with Bahrain in all fields, based on its belief in the importance of ties between the two countries and countries in the region in general.