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Russia military unit set for joint exercise in Egypt


10-09-2016 03:45 BJT

Russia is sending a military unit to Egypt. This comes as the African nation broadens its efforts to counter militants on its borders. Russia's troops are expected to take part in a joint army exercise in the desert of the African nation. Observers from about 30 countries will be attending. Egypt has Africa's strongest army, and has been rapidly developing it in recent years.

Egypt and the United States used to hold military exercises together. But they were suspended back in 2008 for political reasons. Egypt has been waging a war against militant groups along its eastern and western borders. So, Cairo decided to work more closely with Russia for assistance. This week's joint drills will focus on locating and destroying hostile armed groups in the desert. Egypt has been hosting other international players for drills as well. That includes Saudi Arabia.

"The joint military exercises are the highest form of cooperation between countries. It is also clear that both Egypt and Russia have a common vision in their approach to the war on terror and the fight against radical armed groups," General Samir Ragheb with Arab Foundation for Strategic Studies, said.

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah EL Sisi is a military man. One of his first actions as president was to strengthen the army. His government has bought fighter jets from Russia and France, combat helicopters and jets from the United States, and submarines from Germany. Egypt's also the first country in Africa to own two helicopter carriers.

"Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el Sisi has always said that Arab national security is the national security of Egypt. Egypt has a strong army that can protect its borders, but the real challenges transcend the borders. Egypt has areas of strong interest that stretch from the south of the gulf of Aden to far beyond the coast of Libya," General Samir Ragheb said.

That's why el Sisi announced he is not done with military purchasing yet. He says more arms deals are expected with Russia, Germany and France in 2017.


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