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UAE issues compulsory military service law

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DUBAI (PTI): The United Arab Emirates (UAE) has unveiled a new law making military service mandatory for all Emiratis aged between 18 and 30 and setting up a new national defence and reserve force to bolster the country's defence.

The law "aims to instill values of loyalty and sacrifice in the hearts of the citizens", requires graduates aged between 18 and 30 to serve nine months in military while those without a degree for two years.

The law, which was made public on June 7, states that citizens who complete the mandatory service will be entitled to a range of benefits, including priority for taking up jobs in government institutions and private businesses, marriage grants, housing plots and scholarships, Gulf News reported.

Citizens who reach 29 and fail to complete the service - which will include training periods, military exercises and lectures on patriotism and security - without valid reason will have to face a jail term between one month and a year, or a fine between USD 2,722 to 13,612 or both.

While for Emirati women the service will be optional, males will have to complete it even if they exceed the age limit of 30.

Issued by President Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed al-Nahyan, the law will be enforced six months from the date of publishing.

Compulsory military service is not applied in Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Oman, which instead rely on professional armies in their defence.

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