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The United States and Morocco are conducting the largest military exercises in Africa

The United States and Morocco are conducting the largest military exercises in Africa

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Refugee (Morocco) (AFP) – On Monday, the United States and Morocco launched the “African Lion 2022” exercise, the largest on the African continent. The new session comes in a regional context dominated by ongoing tensions with neighboring Algeria. .

In addition to Morocco, part of the exercise will take place in Tunisia, Senegal and Ghana, and will continue until June 30, according to the US Military Command for Africa (AFRICOM).

More than 7,000 soldiers from ten countries, including Brazil, Chad, France and the United Kingdom, are taking part in the event in the presence of military observers from 15 “allied countries”, including the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and Israel. , Which is attending for the first time.

The exercises are aimed at “strengthening our joint security capabilities in the face of transnational threats and violent extremist organizations,” the AFRICOM leadership said in a statement.

For his part, the Inspector General of the Royal Moroccan Armed Forces, General Belgair Al-Farouk, during the start of training in Agadir, referred to the “integration of approaches” facing “security challenges” (South).

The “African Lion 2022” program includes land, air and naval exercises and exercises for biological, radiological, nuclear and chemical disinfection. The Royal Armed Forces said in a statement that it had been adopted by the city of Kenitra, north of Rafat, in addition to several locations in the south, including the Mahbos region on the Algerian border.

Like last year’s curriculum, this course includes training in parachuting and launching missiles on the bases, some of which are located near the base of the Algerian region of Tintof, the Policario Front, where Morocco denies sovereignty over the Western Sahara.

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The United States is Morocco’s key ally in this conflict because it has recognized its sovereignty over the Western Sahara since late 2020 within the framework of a tripartite agreement, including the normalization of the kingdom’s relationship with Israel.

The developments came after Algeria announced it would sever ties with Morocco last summer, accusing the kingdom of “hostile acts” and security cooperation between Morocco and Israel. Rabat regretted the Algerian decision and “rejected its false justifications.”

The decades-old conflict between Morocco and the Algerian-backed Policario Front over the Western Sahara is taking place, with the state controlling 80 percent of its territory and proposing to grant autonomy under its sovereignty as the only solution to the conflict. The Policario Front is demanding a referendum on the right to self-determination.

The Security Council calls on the Moroccan, Policario Front, Algeria and Mauritania to resume, without any preconditions, the “suspended talks” starting in 2019 for a “just, lasting and acceptable political solution.”