UK starts construction of Royal Navy base in Bahrain
Iran Press TV
Sat Oct 31, 2015 6:45PM
The UK has started the construction work on a new Royal Navy base in the Persian Gulf state of Bahrain.
The British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond took part in the groundbreaking ceremony at Mina Salman Port.
'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 [Persian] Gulf and beyond," he was quoted as saying by the British media on Saturday.
The £15-million base which is mainly funded by the ruling Al Khalifah family will accommodate Britain's new Queen Elizabeth-class aircraft carriers and Type 45 destroyers.
'Reward for silence'
The US and its allies including the UK, have been criticized for their muted response to the rights violations in Bahrain, which is home of the US Fifth Fleet.
Rights activists have already slammed the British government's plan to build a permanent military base in Bahrain, describing it as "reward" for London's silence on Bahraini regime's human rights abuses.
They have accused the UK of having "sacrificed" human rights at the "altar of trade and military deals."
The Bahraini regime has been under fire from the international rights organizations for launching a heavy-handed crackdown on the peaceful pro-democracy protesters.
Scores of peaceful protesters have been killed and many more put behind the bars since 2011, when Bahrainis took to the streets to protest against the ruling regime and demand for democratic reforms.
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