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British PM: Gulf Security Is Our Security | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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British Prime Minister Theresa May (Reuters)

Manama – British Prime Minister Theresa May announced her country’s commitment to maintaining security in the Gulf region saying that the UK will always support the Gulf countries.

“Gulf security is our security,” she said.

She praised the strategic value of her country’s relations with Bahrain, stressing that the United Kingdom is a supporter of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries, and is keen to harness all potential to maintain the security and stability of the Gulf region.

May gave her statement during her visit to the British Royal Naval forces at the Khalifa bin Salman Port in Bahrain.

May said: “This is a particularly special moment for me because it’s my first time as prime minister on board a Royal Navy ship, and it’s a very proud one too as I have the privilege of talking to you, our brave men and women, who put yourselves on the line to keep our country safe and protect Britain’s interests.”

“Britain takes enormous pride in our Royal Navy, known the world over for its professionalism and expertise, and for the dedication and courage of its sailors, Royal Marines and officers,” she added.

May said she was delighted to see and hear for herself “the terrific work that you’re doing out here where, more than ever, Gulf security is our security.”

Addressing the British Royal Navy personnel, the British PM said: “As we face multiple global challenges and an increasingly uncertain and dangerous world, you are vital to protecting our nation’s interests and provide a clear demonstration of the UK’s enduring security commitment to the Gulf.”

“And as Britain steps up to forge a new, positive, confident role for our country on the global stage, the Royal Navy will be an important part of our vision, pursuing our objectives of security on land and at sea and helping to ensure the free flow of international trade,” she added, highlighting the strategic importance of oil and gas from the Middle East.

The British prime minister also pointed to the key role played by the British Royal Navy in supporting the diplomatic efforts and consolidating the solid historical relations between the two countries.

During her interview with Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper, May said: “This year, we celebrate the passing of 200 years since the establishment of relations between the United Kingdom and Bahrain, as well as a century of ties with Saudi Arabia.”

“However, over the past few years, relations between us did not seem as strong as our long history together – and I would like to change that,” she added.

“We are fully committed to work with our partners in the Gulf to help them preserve their security,” May stated, adding: “We acknowledge concerns across the Gulf over Iran’s policies which destabilize the region and we firmly support Gulf States against any Iranian interference in their internal affairs.”

Asked about how would U.S. President-elect Donald Trump deal with Russia’s aggressive strategies, Iranian threats and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, May said: “There are many challenges; countries across the world should cooperate to resolve them.”

She noted that she had two conversations with Trump since his election, and that they were both fully committed to maintaining strong relations between the UK and the United States, in particular in the fields of defense and security.