Egypt and U.S Start Joint Naval Exercise in the Red Sea

US and Egyptian navies have commenced their latest joint exercise, “Eagle Salute 2017”, in the regional waters of the Red Sea, said the Egyptian military in a statement.

The naval exercise is part of the Egyptian military’s overarching plan for joint training with friendly nations, aimed at enhancing joint military capabilities and exchanging experiences on the use of the latest fighting technologies, according to the statement.

Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Kuwait, Pakistan and Italy are participating in the current exercise as monitors.

The exercise includes a wide range of activities, including planning and organising joint combat operations, both at day and night, in cooperation of air-force elements. The combat scenarios involve the securing of maritime areas against various threats.

Eagle Salute 2017 also includes search-and-rescue training, as well as practicing the inspection and raiding of suspect ships, with the participation of naval and special forces units from both militaries.

The statement said, “exercise reflects “the solid partnership and strategic cooperation between the two countries in many fields.”

The bilateral relations between Egypt and the United States strained after the Egyptian military ousted former Islamist president Mohamed Morsi in 2013, which led Obama administration to cancel the joint Egyptian-U.S. military exercise of Bright Star.

However, the U.S Egyptian relations have improved under the new U.S. administration of Donald Trump, who has pledged to support the key ally with 1.3 billion U.S. dollars annually in military aid.

In February 2017, the head of the United States Central Command, Gen. Joseph L. Votel,said during his visit to Egypt that the United States want to resume a major military exercise with Egypt.

He also said, “It is my goal to get that exercise back on track and try to re-establish that as another key part of our military relationship.”