MANAMA, 1st November, 2015 (WAM) — The Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Kingdom of Bahrain, Shaikh Khalid bin Ahmed bin Mohammed Al Khalifa, and the UK Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, Philip Hammond, attended the ground-breaking ceremony for the establishment of British Royal Navy facilities headquarters in the Kingdom of Bahrain on Saturday, according to Bahrain News Agency, BNA.

On the occasion, Shaikh Khalid said that the move reflects the strong cooperation between the two countries in all fields, including the security field, and their keenness to bolster the levels of cooperation in line with their aspirations and to further boost 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 GCC states at various levels.

The Minister of Foreign Affairs affirmed that the construction of the British Royal Navy 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 the forces to carry out their duties effectively. This, he added, will positively reflect on bolstering regional security and peace as well as boost bilateral relations towards wider horizons in various fields.

Shaikh Khalid noted that the relations between the Kingdom of Bahrain and the UK have lasted for about two hundred years, adding that the deep-rooted and historical relations have witnessed positive progress that reflect the common desire and firm will of the two countries in diversifying areas of cooperation and the development of coordination and communication, and promoting understanding about various issues.

Speaking at the groundbreaking ceremony, UK Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond said, ”The beginning of construction work at Mina Salman Port marks a watershed moment in the UK’s commitment to the region. The presence of the Royal Navy in Bahrain is guaranteed into the future, ensuring Britain’s sustained presence east of Suez. The new facility will enable Britain to work with our allies to reinforce stability in the Gulf and beyond.” Mr. Hammond praised the tangible efforts of the Kingdom of Bahrain exerted in the benefit of the region and its people, affirming his country’s keenness to support its relations with the Kingdom of Bahrain in all fields, based on its belief in the importance of these ties between the two countries and countries in the region in general.

The facility will play a central role in the Royal Navy’s ability to operate in the region, and reaffirms the UK’s determination to work with Bahrain to maintain security and stability in the Gulf, giving the UK an enhanced and permanent presence in the region, and thus allowing longer-term deployments in the Gulf.