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Naval coalition reaffirms need for anti-terror presence in Gulf

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dpa German Press Agency
Published: Wednesday December 6, 2006

Manama- Top coalition naval commanders in the Gulf reaffirmed Wednesday the need to have a strong deterrent presence in the region in order to maintain the effort to combat terrorism. Their comments came during the turnover ceremony of Combined Task Force (CTF) 150 in charge of Maritime Security Operations in the Gulf of Oman, Gulf of Aden, the Red Sea, and the Arabian Sea.

British Royal Navy Commodore Bruce Williams relieved German Navy Rear Admiral Heinrich Lange during Wednesday's regular command rotation in ceremonies abord the Canadian frigate HMCS Ottawa.

"What we are aiming to do is to build our relationships and develop our understanding and operations with our friends in the region to ensure that everybody who wants a peaceful existence and activity here has a normal way of life," commander Commodore Williams told Deutsche Presse-Agentur dpa.

Williams added that the coalition presence aims to help the regional countries better develop their anti-terrorism skills.

"It is not our home, it's the partners we have out here whose home it is. And promoting their security, their well-being, and their trade is what foremost on our minds," he said.

Rear Admiral Lange, who led the combined task force for the past four months, also pointed out the importance of the coalition naval presence to the region.

"It is very important that we sustain this operation. The stability of this region is of mutual interest to everybody whether here, in Europe, America or the rest of the world," he said.

Lange highlighted the success the coalition had in the past several months and added that combating terrorism was a joint effort that no one country could take the task for alone.

Deputy Combined Force Maritime Component Commander Royal Navy Commodore Keith Winstanley said the coalition participation in maritime security operations was one of the keys to success throughout the region.

"(Williams') team is arguably the first example of a true coalition staff. It has a Dutch captain as a deputy commander and a staff drawn from 10, and soon to be 12, of the 18 nations that make up our coalition," Winstanley said.

CTF 150 was established near the beginning of Operation Enduring Freedom in 2001, and is comprised of naval ships from numerous coalition nations, including Canada, France, Germany, Pakistan, United Kingdom and the US.

The task force conducts patrols in the Gulf of Aden, Gulf Oman, the Arabian Sea, Red Sea and the Indian Ocean, covering more than 2.4 million miles of ocean and 6,000 miles of coastline bordering 12 countries. It is under the direct command of the US Navy 5th Fleet.

© 2006 dpa German Press Agency