UAE and France hold joint military drills

French and Emirati forces hold joint military exercises amid rising regional tensions with Iran
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Abu Dhabi Crown Prince and Commander of the United Arab Emirates armed forces, Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed al Nahayan (C), attends with other officials joint military maneuvers with the French army in the desert of Abu Dhabi May 2, 2012. (FP/Getty Images)
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Emirati women soldiers follow joint manoeuvres between the UAE and French armies in the desert of Abu Dhabi May 2, 2012. (AFP/Getty Images)
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A senior official in the UAE’s military has said that recent war games held jointly with France were not related to ongoing political tensions with Iran. (AFP/Getty Images)
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The two countries concluded a fortnight of military drills this week, which came amid a diplomatic tussle between the UAE and Iran over territorial claims to three islands. (AFP/Getty Images)
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“There is no relation or link between military training taking place and political events, swings, or instability in the region”, said Major-General Pilot Rashad Salem al-Saadi, head of the UAE Joint Command and Staff College. (AFP/Getty Images)
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More than 4,500 personnel took part in the drills, which have been previously held in 1996, 2000, 2005 and 2008. (AFP/Getty Images)
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The spat between the UAE and Iran began in early April following Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s official visit to the island of Abu Musa, which along with Greater and Lesser Tunbs, is claimed by both the UAE and Iran.(AFP/Getty Images)
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Ahmadinejad’s visit sparked a furious response from the UAE’s government, which has since carried naval drills in the waters surrounding the islands. The UAE has also said it is willing to take the dispute to international arbitration. (AFP/Getty Images)
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Other GCC governments support the UAE’s claim to sovereignty over the islands, with foreign powers including the US, France and Italy also backing the Gulf nation’s territorial claim.(AFP/Getty Images)
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In response, Iranian authorities have bolstered the Islamic Republic’s military presence on Abu Musa and insisted its ownership over the three islands is “non-negotiable”. (AFP/Getty Images)
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In response, Iranian authorities have bolstered the Islamic Republic’s military presence on Abu Musa and insisted its ownership over the three islands is “non-negotiable”. (AFP/Getty Images)