Iran slams UAE over French military base

May 27, 2009

TEHRAN -- The United Arab Emirates’ decision to allow France to set up a military base in Abu Dhabi will not improve the regional security situation, Foreign Ministry spokesman Hassan Qashqavi said on Monday.

On Tuesday, French President Nicolas Sarkozy formally opened a French military base in the United Arab Emirates, France’s first permanent base in the Persian Gulf region.
Qashqavi said the UAE’s decision is illogical and cannot be regarded as a move that will improve regional security.
The UAE should be careful to avoid moving in line with foreigners’ regional policies, he added.
He went on to say that allowing foreigners to increase their military presence in the region will undermine security and stability and will lead to an ‘arms race’.
Certain countries are trying to give the impression that the region is insecure through their “baseless threats” in order to sell their weapons, he noted.
Qashqavi said it is obvious that this decision was influenced by the fact that France has serious economic problems due to the global financial crisis.
France is a leading military supplier to the Persian Gulf state and signed a nuclear cooperation agreement with the UAE last year.
The new base will host up to 500 French troops and include a naval base, an air base, and a training camp.
The 500 troops will be stationed in the UAE in a support and training capacity, rather than taking part in actual military operations, BBC reported.
“Be assured that France is on your side in the event your security is at risk,” Sarkozy said in an interview with the UAE’s official news agency.
“Through this base -- the first in the Middle East -- France is ready to shoulder its responsibilities to ensure stability in this strategic region.”
Qashqavi also advised regional countries against purchasing arms from bankrupt Western companies that are trying to use any pretext to sell their arms.
He lamented the fact that France no longer follows a ‘moderate policy’ and is now influenced by extremists, adding that Iran expects France to act more responsibly in regard to issues of importance for the international community