The Prince of Wales has opened the controversial Mina Salman naval base in Bahrain despite criticism of the regime’s human rights record and human rights organisations urging him to highlight the country’s abuses.
At the end of last month, rumours were circling that a military base will open in Bahrain. British tabloid the Daily Mail reported the prospective opening of the port and that Bahrain has paid over £30 million to open the facility adding that Britain contributing approximately £7.5 million.
The base, which was opened by Prince Charles yesterday, is the first permanent military presence in the region since 1971. It will be used by Britain’s Royal Navy alongside the US’ own large naval base.
The Bahraini ambassador to the UK wrote in the British newspaper the Telegraph yesterday that the Naval Support Facility (NSF) in Manama symbolises a long alliance between the two nations.
“With the region continuing to face difficult times, the British return to East of Suez is a reassuring sign that our countries remain steadfast friends and allies, with strong diplomatic, military and trade relations,” Fawaz Bin Mohamed Al Khalifa wrote regarding the opening of the base.
The British government hopes that the Bahrain base will help the armed forces to send larger warships to the Gulf. According to Defence Secretary Michael Fallon, this will “reinforce stability” in the region.