US Central Command (CENTCOM) chief Gen. Joseph Votel has stressed that military-to-military exercises strengthen relations between Cairo and Washington, Egypt’s Ahram Online reported Sunday (September 9th).
"Egypt is one of our most vital partners in the region," Votel said in a statement.
Votel was in Egypt for a few days to observe joint training exercises, dubbed "Bright Star 2018", between US and Egyptian armed forces at Mohamed Naguib Military Base from September 8th to the 19th.
Votel said during his visit he met with senior Egyptian leaders to "explore ways to enhance the strategic security relationship between Egypt and the US, a historic partnership which plays a leading role in counterterrorism and regional security".
Around 800 US military service members are participating in the Bright Star 2018 exercises for the second consecutive year since their reactivation, he added.
The focus this year is on regional security and co-operation, and promoting interoperability in irregular warfare scenarios.
"The Bright Star 2018 exercise promotes our vision of a more stable and prosperous region with increasingly effective governance, improved security, and trans-regional co-operation. CENTCOM sees this expanded joint exercise as vital to securing American and Egyptian interests," the statement read.
"As a partner with Egypt, the US remains committed to supporting the Egyptian government and people through diplomatic, economic, social and security co-operation," it added.