French President Nicolas Sarkozy has inaugurated the country’s first military base in Abu Dhabi, UAE as France aims to expand it presence in the Gulf region.

Dubbed the Camp of Peace, it is France’s first military base overseas in 50 years.

The military base is expected to host up to 500 troops on three separate sites.

President Sarkozy said that the base was a step towards its long-term engagement with its allies, including the UAE.

The base will support its troops deployed in the Indian Ocean and serve to strengthen bilateral military cooperation.

However, it is also expected to give France a strategic military presence in the region, alongside the US and Britain, which also have bases in the Gulf.

Though Sarkozy indicated that the base targets no country, the inauguration comes amid ongoing international concern about Iran’s nuclear ambitions.