Official: Oman-UK Joint Military Exercise Still On Despite US Attacks
A senior Omani military official said on Monday that Oman has not even considered postponing next month's joint military exercise with Britain - Swift Sword 2 – despite the attacks against the US, reported the Gulf News.
"We have not even considered the subject and have no plans to consider it either," asserted Brig. Said bin Sueliman Al Habsi, Assistant Chief of Staff in the Sultan's Armed Forces (SAF), during a press conference at the ministry of defense.
"We have been planning for this exercise, by far the biggest in Oman's history, since 1998. We are fully prepared to go ahead."
He said 14,000 Omani troops will take part in the 15-day exercise, starting from mid-October, with Britain's 24,000 men, more than 8000 of whom have already arrived in Oman.
"It will be the biggest British troop deployment outside Britain since the 1982 Falklands war and the largest joint military exercise in the region after the Gulf War."
This is the second joint military exercise with Britain but the first in 15 years, said the paper.
He said 40 Omani fighter planes, mostly British-made Jaguars, will figure in the exercise with Britain's 114. The number of Oman's naval ships will be 11 and Britain 27. "The aim is to enhance the fighting capabilities of the Sultan's Armed Forces."
He said the US was taking part in the exercise as an observer along with France, the five GCC states, Egypt, Yemen, Jordan, Pakistan, India and Turkey – Albawaba.com
© 2001 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)
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