Egypt, US start joint naval drills in Red Sea

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Cairo, April 24 (IANS) Egyptian and US navies launched a joint exercise in the waters of the Red Sea, media reports said.

According to a press release by Egypt’s army on Sunday, the drills, dubbed “Eagle Salute 2017”, come as part of an Egyptian army’s plan for joint exercises with friendly countries to improve mutual military capabilities on the use of latest technologies.

Italy, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Kuwait and Pakistan are participating in the exercise as monitors, Xinhua news agency reported.

The exercise includes a wide range of activities such as planning and organising joint combat operations, both day and night, in coordination with air force elements.

The combat scenarios involve securing maritime areas against various threats.

Other activities include search-and-rescue training and inspecting and raiding suspect ships, with the participation of naval and special units from both sides.

The bilateral relations between Egypt and the US deteriorated after the Egyptian military ousted former Islamist president Mohamed Morsi in 2013, which led Trump’s predecessor Barack Obama to cancel the joint Egyptian-US military exercise of Bright Star.

The ties, however, have improved under the new US administration of Donald Trump, who has pledged to support the key ally with $1.3 billion annually in military aid.

–IANS

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