UAE says first National Service recruits to start in September

First batch of Emirati men will be received through recruiting centres in Abu Dhabi, Sharjah and Al Ain

Emirati armed forces take part in a military show. (AFP/Getty Images - for illustrative purposes only)

Emirati armed forces take part in a military show. (AFP/Getty Images - for illustrative purposes only)

The UAE said on Monday that the first batch of Emirati men undertaking compulsory military service will start their training in September.

Major-General Pilot Sheikh Ahmad bin Tahnoun bin Mohammad Al Nahyan, chairman of the National and Reserve Authority, said in comments published by news agency WAM that the first citizens who meet the conditions of the new National Service Law will be received through three recruitment centres in Abu Dhabi, Sharjah and Al Ain.

He made the remarks during a press conference held at the Armed Forces Officers Club in Abu Dhabi.

On Saturday, the president of the UAE issued a law implementing compulsory military service for Emirati men, a move highlighting the Gulf state's concern over turmoil in the region.

The UAE, a federation of seven emirates with a mostly expatriate population, faces no immediate threats from neighbours and has been spared militant attacks that have targeted other countries like Saudi Arabia.

The UAE had first said in January that it would introduce the law which applies to all males between the ages of 18 and 30 and in good medical health.

Men who have a high school degree or its equivalent will serve nine months, while those who do not have a high school diploma will serve for two years.

Participation for women, who can only serve for nine months, is optional and will require the approval of their legal guardians.

Military service will include training periods, military exercises and lectures on patriotism and security.

The London-based International Institute for Strategic Studies estimates the size of the UAE armed forces at 51,000, with an army of 44,000, navy of 2,500 and air force of 4,500.

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