By Hussein Elkabany
CAIRO (AA) – Egypt and France began a joint military drill in the Red Sea on Sunday, according to the Egyptian military.
In a statement, the army said naval forces from both countries carried out a naval training in the Red Sea with the participation of a French warship and a number of Egyptian navy vessels.
“The military exercise aims to enhance the combat capability of both countries to deal with naval threats, including the protection of important shipments and counter-terrorism,” the statement said.
The Red Sea is a strategic route for the Gulf oil to Europe and the U.S. through Egypt's Suez Canal.
Last month, the Egyptian army conducted joint naval exercises with French military forces in the northern Mediterranean Sea.
In February and March, both countries conducted three separate joint naval exercises in the Red Sea and the Mediterranean.
Ever since President Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi assumed power in June of 2014, Cairo and Paris have signed a range of arms deals, making France — alongside the U.S. and Russia — one of Egypt’s main sources for weapons.