CAIRO: Egyptian naval forces Sunday finished the “Exercise Eagle Salute” joint training exercise in cooperation with forces from the United States and United Arab Emirates, Al-Masry Al-Youm reported.
The exercise aimed to develop leadership and officer skills as well as raise readiness, combat efficiency and exchange experience, combat methods and the latest weapons and equipment technology. Saudi Arabia, Greece, France and Italy also participated in the training, which lasted for several days in Egypt’s Red Sea territorial waters.
The multinational naval forces embarked on practical exercises, including tactical naval and air maneuvers, which involved the use of fighter jets, aircraft and destroyers.
Rear Adm. Ismail el-Badawi, the Egyptian officer in charge of the Egyptian elements of the exercise, said in a March statement that Egyptian armed forces wish to deepen military ties and mutual cooperation between the UAE and U.S.
Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates have been huge financial backers of Egypt since the ouster of former President Mohamed Morsi in July 2013. Further, the UAE has embarked on implementing development and service projects in Egypt since the ouster of Morsi in July, including a major housing project announced by President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi aimed at helping lower-income Egyptians.
The Gulf states’ financial support filled a prominent gap for Egypt after the United States announced the suspension of aid to Egypt, including deliveries of tank parts, fighter aircraft, helicopters, missiles and $260 million in cash following the forceful dispersal of the pro-Muslim Brotherhood sit-ins in Rabaa al-Adaweya and Nahda Square.
The full U.S. aid package to Egypt was conditionally unfrozen in January. In order for the aid to be delivered, the U.S. secretary of state must certify the Egyptian government is supporting a transition to a democratic government, including holding free and fair elections and implementing policies to protect freedom of expression, association, religion and due process of law.
On April 24, the Pentagon issued a statement saying the U.S. would deliver ten Apache helicopters to Egypt and said the decision had already been passed along to Cairo by U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel.
“We believe these new helicopters will help the Egyptian government counter extremists who threaten U.S., Egyptian, and Israeli security,” Pentagon spokesman Rear Adm. John Kirby said in a Thursday statement.