Bahrain, US Sign Military Accord
Bahrain and the United States signed an accord on the supply of advanced military equipment to the state's armed forces during a visit Sunday by a top US general, the GNA news agency said.
The memorandum of understanding was signed by Bahrain's defense minister, Sheikh Khalifa bin Ahmad al-Khalifa, and US Ambassador Johnny Young in the presence of General Tommy Franks, the new commander of US forces in the Gulf.
The agreement will "enhance the readiness and combat efficiency of the (Bahraini) units and enable them to carry out the task of defending the nation and preserving its security and stability," Sheikh Khalifa said.
Bahrain, the base of the US Fifth Fleet, signed a similar memorandum of understanding on military cooperation with Britain last week during a visit to London by the emir, Sheikh Hamad bin Issa al-Khalifa.
As part of a defense upgrade, the delivery of a new squadron of US-built F-16 fighters for Bahrain's air force is due to be completed by the end of 2000.
Bahrain, which is embroiled in a land dispute with Qatar, ordered 10 F-16C/Ds built by Lockheed Martin in 1998 in addition to 12 of the same fighters already in its air force.
In November 1999, Bahrain also signed an order for 26 US-built AMRAAM air-to-air missiles to equip the F-16s at an estimated price of 110 million dollars - MANAMA (AFP)
© 2000 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)