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01 Jul 13. Afghanistan: OP HERRICK. Following the Prime Minister’s visit to Afghanistan (29/30 Jun 13), the MoD published (1 Jul 13) a comprehensive summary of Operations in Afghanistan. The summary reiterated that combat troops are to leave at the end of 2014. The only military commitments the UK has made beyond 2014 are to part-run the Officer Academy and to provide financial support to sustain Afghan Forces.
The House of Commons debated Afghanistan and EU Council (Hansard, 2 Jul 13, Column 751 et seq). The Prime Minister confirmed that numbers in Afghanistan are to reduce to about 5,200 by the end of 2013, in only four or five bases. Beyond 2014, a small number of British troops will remain to assist with the National Army Officer Academy. No final decision has been made about Camp Bastion, but it is likely to be passed to the US.
The Foreign Office confirmed (2 Jul 13) that agreement had been reached with the Government of Uzbekistan for the ground transit of cargo through the Republic. The Agreement entered into force on 16 May 13. Comment: The Department for International Development (DfID) updated its „Operational Plan for Afghanistan. on 27 Jun 13. The Plan for 2011 to 2015 can be found at the Government web portal (www.gov.uk). DfiD aspires to “a more peaceful, stable, viable and prosperous Afghanistan”.
(Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 13/27, 08 Jul 13)
04 Jul 13. Lebanon: Security Assistance. The MoD confirmed that the Chief of the Defence Staff visited Lebanon on 4/5 Jul 13, “to discuss ways in which the UK can strengthen its Defence relationship with the Country and support its Armed Forces in meeting the challenges they face”. The UK Government intends to provide Lebanon with a support package to help the Country deal with the security situation on the Syrian border.
Comment: UK support to Lebanon already includes a training facility at Hamat and recently constructed border observation towers. Subject to Parliamentary approval, the additional support package now proposed includes mobility, communications, protection and surveillance equipment together with associated training. (Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 13/27, 08 Jul 13)
01 Jul 13. Iran: Financial Matters Still Unresolved. In a Written Answer (1 Jul 13), the Defence Equipment Minister said that funds have been held on deposit since 2002 for International Military Services (IMS). As principal shareholder in IMS the Defence Secretary has agreed the Company’s financial statements, including the provision for a potential liability to be paid to Iran. In a further Written Answer (5 Jul 13), the Armed Forces. Minister said that the potential liability “is the subject of ongoing commercial negotiations” between IMS and the Iranian authorities.
Comment: The liability to Iran dates back to the period between 1971 and 1976 and the Shah of Iran’s agreement to buy 1,500 Chieftain battle tanks and supporting armoured vehicles. When the Shah was deposed in 1979 only 185 tanks had been delivered against an advance payment of some £650m. The Islamic Republic of Iran has long claimed for the return of money but, as indicated above, the matter remains unresolved. An international arbitration case was started in 1992. (Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 13/27, 08 Jul 13)
04 Jul 13. Japan: Two Agreements Signed. The Foreign Office announced (4 Jul 13) the signing of the UK-Japan Defence Equipment Co-operation Framework and an Information Security Agreement. The Foreign Secretary and the Japanese Ambassador signed the two agreements, which will create a legal framework for closer co-operation between the two Countries on Defence and Security.
Comment: In Tokyo on 10 Ap