Bahrain: Bahrain’s strategic location is key to peace and stability in the region, according to Lord Mayor of the City of London Jeffrey Mountevans.
He welcomed the new UK naval base, HMS Juffair, expected to open this year, with a running cost of £15 million a year from 2017.
The base will add to the UK’s already strong defensive presence in the region, with military assets including Royal Air Force Tornado aircraft, a remotely-piloted air system, Hercules transport aircraft, air-to-air refuelling and surveillance aircraft.
“Bahrain’s strategic location in the Gulf is key and the support by the rulers to bring a base here is of great importance for peace and stability in the region,” the Lord Mayor told the GDN in an exclusive interview.
“There should be free flow of goods through the sea lanes because about one and half tonnes of cargo will be moved by sea this year for every man, woman and child on the planet.”
He also said Bahrain would remain a “priority market” for the UK, despite low oil prices, with officials keen to encourage investment in Islamic Finance and infrastructure projects.
He added this was because Bahrain was in a much better position compared to other Gulf countries, who are adjusting to the fall in oil prices.
He left Bahrain yesterday after a two-day visit during which he met business leaders and government officials.