Joint Chiefs Chairman Myers Begins Visit to Gulf Allies
By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service
ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates, Aug. 9, 2004 The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff has begun a visit with U.S. allies in the Middle East with a stop in the United Arab Emirates.
Air Force Gen. Richard B. Myers also will use the opportunity to meet with U.S. servicemembers in the region.
The United Arab Emirates, a series of seven sheikdoms along the southern coast of the Persian Gulf, have been steadfast U.S. allies since the country's independence in 1971. The oil-rich area has close military and economic ties with America.
Myers will meet with U.S. embassy officials and the crown prince of Abu Dhabi, Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed al Nahyan.
The United Arab Emirates hosts about 3,500 U.S. servicemembers, mostly Air Force. Dubai, the second-largest emirate and the commercial center of the country, hosts port calls for sailors and Marines operating with the U.S. 5th Fleet. The facilities at Dubai are the only ones large enough in the region to handle aircraft carriers.
In 1999, the emirates bought 80 U.S. F-16s. Officials traveling with Myers said he has a close personal relationship with Emirati defense leaders. The visit furthers military-to-military ties between the UAE and the United States, officials said.