Main phase of Egyptian French military exercise kicks off: statement
Defense Minister Sedki Sobhi with French Defense Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian during Egypt's recieving European multipurpose frigate from France to secure Suez Canal

CAIRO:  The main stage of “Ramses-2016;” and Egyptian-French military exercise has kicked off Friday off the coast of Alexandria with the participation of air and naval forces from both countries, the Egyptian Armed Forces said in a statement.

The French-made Rafale fighters, F16 fighters and surveillance aircraft are taking part in the military drill which kicked off Sunday, according to the statement, Egypt’s FREMM-class frigate “Long Live Egypt” is also participating in the military exercise for the first time since it had arrived in Egypt in June 2015.

It also involves France’s aircraft carrier ‘Charles de Gaulle’, which is being used to launch air strikes on the Islamic State (IS) group in Syria, Libya and Iraq.

The Friday stage of the military exercise was attended by Egypt’s Commander of Naval forces Major General Osama Mounir and French Commander of Naval Forces.

The drill aims to “unify joint military concepts of the two armies” and also to enhance the skills and abilities of participating forces and exchange expertise, the statement added.

Egypt, along with other 19 Arab and Islamic countries have participated in the “Thunder of the North” joint military exercise that concluded with a marching parade in Saudi Arabia Friday.

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