Dr Fox meets troops in Dubai

Defence Secretary Dr Liam Fox has just completed a visit to Dubai in the United Arab Emirates where he thanked UK troops based there for their hard work supporting operations in Afghanistan.

Defence Secretary Dr Fox meets troops in Dubai

Defence Secretary Dr Fox meets troops in Dubai
[Picture: Crown Copyright/MOD 2010]

The Defence Secretary's visit, which reflects the important defence cooperation between the UK and UAE, is part of a series of inward and outward visits at Ministerial level between the UK and UAE demonstrating the elevated relationship between the two countries since the UK Coalition Government came to power earlier this year.

This was the Dr Liam Fox's second visit to the UAE since taking up the position of Defence Secretary in May this year.

During a visit to al-Minhad airfield Dr Fox received a briefing from the Detachment Commander, Squadron Leader Craig Young, where he discussed the important role RAF airmen play in supporting operations in Afghanistan.

He also spent time meeting some of the airmen operating from the base. Dr Fox Said:

"The hard work carried out here supporting our operations in Afghanistan is only made possible by the close cooperation and immense support from our UAE partners.

"Even though many back at home are preparing for the holiday season the mission here never stops. I found the whole operation very impressive."

Dr Fox also visited Her Majesty's Ship Enterprise at Dubai's Port Rashid during his visit where he was given a briefing about the ship by her captain, Commander Jon Holmes.

Defence Secretary Dr Fox meets troops in Dubai

Defence Secretary Dr Fox meets troops in Dubai
[Picture: Crown Copyright/MOD 2010]

The Secretary of State then had the opportunity to go on board one of HMS Enterprise's Survey Motor Boats which has the ability to access the shallower waters that larger ships cannot.

During the event the Defence Secretary said:

"I am delighted to visit HMS Enterprise today to view the facilities on board. It has been wonderful to speak to the crew members about the important work they do.

"The Royal Navy plays a vital role promoting and protecting our national interest and building our key relationships in the Gulf. I really appreciate the hard work carried out by the crew of HMS Enterprise, especially during this holiday season. Their visit to the UAE is a fine example of defence diplomacy."

Dr Fox also met with His Highness Sheikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai and Sheikh Hamdan Bin Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the Crown Prince of Dubai.

They discussed areas of mutual concern such as the situation in Afghanistan, wider regional security, and the close cooperation between the UK and the UAE on the military, security, economic and cultural fronts.

Dr Fox said:

"His Highness and I had a very good and wide ranging discussion. I took the opportunity to thank him for the UAE's support in Afghanistan and cooperation in defence and security matters.

"The UAE is a key UK partner in the region and I look forward to building on what is already a very deep relationship."