CAIRO: Joint air drills between Egypt and Sudan are not targeting a specific country, according to the military chiefs of both nations.
Sudan’s Chief of Staff Mohmmed Othamn Al-Hussein and Egypt’s Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Mohammed Farid Hegazy made the remark as the drills, called “Nile Eagles 2,” concluded at Sudan’s Marwa Air Base.
The exercise, which started last Wednesday, involved developing joint air operation skills, executing air attacks on specific targets, and protecting sensitive installations.
It coincided with the launch of a new round of negotiations between the two countries and Ethiopia about a multi-billion dollar dam project, which has been a source of years-long tension.
Egypt, Sudan and Ethiopia have been negotiating since 2011 to reach an agreement on filling the dam. Ethiopia hopes the dam will turn it into Africa’s top hydropower supplier, but Egypt and Sudan fear it will substantially reduce their water share and affect development prospects.
Hegazy said: “The Egyptian army stands side-by-side with the Sudanese army in the same trench to defend it as both armies look forward to a more promising and safer future. We reiterate the importance of joint action in facing joint challenges in order to secure the borders and protect the resources. The ‘Nile Eagles’ exercise saw positive development in all of its stages during its first and second editions in regards to preparations, planning, and implementation.”
He added that the drills, which came within the framework of cooperation between both countries’ armed forces, were strategic to joint military cooperation and contributed to bolstering both nations’ security.
He delivered President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi’s greetings to the Sudanese armed forces, calling on them to continue their sacrifice for the sake of protecting nations, and repeated the need to “quickly implement the upcoming exercise to complete an exchange of expertise in order to maintain both countries’ national security.”
Al-Hussein stressed that the joint air drills with Egypt were aimed at enhancing bilateral relations between the two countries and integrating their national security.
The exercises included prompting procedures, cooperation organization methods to unify concepts, and refining skills for efficiently managing joint air operations.
They also included implementing air strikes to attack hostile targets and protecting vital targets in addition to other air exercises, with multi-task fighter jets taking part in the missions.