The United States has signed a new, updated defence accord with the United Arab Emirates that could allow Washington to send more troops and equipment there, the Pentagon said today.
The agreement replaces a 1994 accord to better "reflect the broad range of military-to-military cooperation that the UAE and US enjoy today," spokesman Christopher Sherwood said.
US Defence Secretary Jim Mattis, a champion of closer Gulf ties, discussed the agreement with Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed Al-Nahyan, crown prince of Abu Dhabi, at the White House yesterday.
The accord was signed on 8 May, the Pentagon said, but was only disclosed over the past day.
The agreement marks a new chapter in our partnership and reflects the breadth and depth of our ongoing cooperation
Mattis said in a statement after the talks.
Sherwood described the agreement as a framework that dictates "the magnitude and conditions of the US military presence in-country."
This provides the US military with the ability to more seamlessly respond to a range of scenarios in and around the UAE, if necessary
Since taking office, Trump administration has already increased cooperation with the UAE in Yemen against Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula. It also appears increasingly inclined to support a Saudi-led coalition against Houthi fighters, who are aligned with Iran.
Iran rejects accusations that it is giving financial and military support to the Houthis in Yemen's civil war.