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- Dubai 04:54 06:07 12:11 15:33 18:09 19:23
South Korea's army held a farewell ceremony Monday for about 130 elite troops to be deployed in the United Arab Emirates to help train its special forces, officials said.
The deployment was approved by parliament after a South Korean-led consortium won a $20 billion deal in late 2009 to build nuclear reactors there.
President Lee Myung-Bak, in a speech at the ceremony read by Defence Minister Kim Kwan-Jin, said the deployment will "significantly help solidify our energy security and expand trade in the Middle East".
A defence ministry spokesman said the Korean special forces will mainly be involved in training their UAE counterparts, holding joint exercises and protecting South Korean citizens in case of emergency.
The Koreans will not be responsible for protecting South Korean workers, who will begin building the nuclear plants early this year. The unit will be based in the eastern region of Al Ain for two years.
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