Qatar opened its largest coast guard base Sunday (July 14th) as a standoff between Iran and the US continues to boost tensions in strategic Gulf waters, AFP reported.
Prime Minister Abdullah bin Nasser bin Khalifa Al Thani and commander of US Naval Forces in the Middle East Vice Admiral Jim Malloy attended the ceremony at Al-Daayen naval base in Semaisima, near Doha on Qatar's eastern coast.
Qatar, a key US ally, is home to Washington's largest Middle East military base.
Malloy, commander of the US 5th Fleet based in Bahrain, said the new base was "a wonderful opportunity for us to interface more strongly with the Qatari coast guard".
The 600,000-plus square-metre site, located 30 kilometres from Doha, aims to "facilitate the securing of all territorial waters of the State and border posts", the interior ministry said in a social media post.
It includes a "sophisticated seaport", training and medical facilities, civil defence offices and operating rooms, the ministry added.
Asked whether the base could enhance US-Qatari co-ordination on Iran, Malloy said the move was "all about maritime security, that is what our focus is".