It looks like you're using an Ad Blocker.
Please white-list or disable AboveTopSecret.com in your ad-blocking tool.
Some features of ATS will be disabled while you continue to use an ad-blocker.
PARIS, May 26 -- France inaugurated its first military base in the Persian Gulf on Tuesday, underlining an ambition to help meet the strategic challenge from Iran and capture a share of the region's rich arms market for the French defense industry.
President Nicolas Sarkozy, on a one-day visit to the United Arab Emirates' capital, formally opened a 900-foot quay allocated to the French navy in Abu Dhabi's Zayed Port, a French air force installation at the Dhafra Air Base just outside the city and a barracks at a downtown military camp for several hundred French soldiers.
The outposts are France's first permanent overseas military installations outside its former colonies in Africa in 50 years, reflecting a shift in national security strategy in which Sarkozy has put less emphasis on traditional African allies and more on the Persian Gulf and the Indian Ocean. In addition to being sources of oil and potential markets for French technology, these areas are key to France's security and that of the world, Sarkozy declared in a white paper on national security soon after assuming power in 2007.