x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 19 January 2018

Military contractors' role clarified

The Government acknowledged that it has hired foreign experts to train troops in the UAE.

The UAE military trains with private security forces, including Reflex Responses, or R2, founded by the former Navy Seal Erik Prince, a military official said yesterday.

"The UAE Armed Forces currently engage with a number of third parties, such as Spectre, which delivers academy training capabilities; Horizon, a pilot training partner and R2, which provides operational, planning and training support," Gen Juma Khalaf al Hamiri, head of administration and human resources for the Armed Forces, said yesterday, quoting a statement issued on Sunday night. "All engagements of commercial entities by the UAE Armed Forces are compliant with international Law and relevant conventions."

The statement followed a New York Times report that said the Government had engaged R2 to form a battalion with duties that included "stability and support operations", as well as antipiracy, defence and security.

Gen al Hamiri said "strong alliances within the international community" have been "at the heart" of the UAE Armed Forces' successful approach. He said the Forces "have been through an accelerated and extensive process of development and Emiratisation since their creation."

* With agencies