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Russia-Egypt naval drills aimed against no one — deputy navy commander

June 15, 2015, 10:25 UTC+3 ALEXANDRIA

Russia and Egypt will plan neww drills aimed at counteracting terrorism, drug and weapons trafficking

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The Moskva missile cruiser

The Moskva missile cruiser

© ITAR-TASS/Alexey Pavlishak

ALEXANDRIA /Egypt/, June 14. /TASS/. The goal of the Russian-Egyptian naval exercise Friendship Bridge-2015 was securing peace, it was not aimed against any state or a third party, Russian deputy Navy Commander Alexander Fedotenkov said on Sunday at a news conference dedicated to the results of the first Russian-Egyptian naval drills Friendship Bridge-2015 that ended on Saturday.

"The goal of our exercise, first of all, is to preserve peace and stability. It in no way is aimed against any other country," he underscored. "The drills were geared to exchange experience and enter a new stage of cooperation."

"We drilled organization of tactical interaction in joint maneuvering," he said. "Officers of the unified headquarters, ship crew commanders conducted a big deal of preliminary work to ensure success of these first drills. The next exercise we will plan and conduct in future will ensure a new level of our military technical cooperation."

Fedotenkov said Russian and Egyptian ships drilled the entire spectrum of cooperation skills, crews had theory classes, and the headquarters drilled interaction organization skills. "It is secret to no one that the Russian Navy has only domestically produced ships. The Egyptian navy has, along with ships built in the former Soviet Union, foreign ships as well. That is why their interaction is important," he said. "We plan to solve more complicated tasks since tensions in the world are not easing and we must be prepared to rebuff any challenges and threats, such as drug and weapons trafficking."

"Apart from that, the problem of terrorism cannot be ignored. Currently, it is the major challenge for the humankind," Fedotenkov noted. "Russia and Egypt know this evil perfectly well, so we will focus due attention on drilling relevant skills while preparing the next drills to be ready to repel any such threats."

Osama Mounir Rabie, the Egyptian Navy commander, said in turn he hoped defense cooperation between the two countries would be continued. "The exercises were held at a highest level, we learnt Russian officers’ experience in commanding ships, using weapons. We will look at organizing similar joint drills in the nearest future," he said.

Along with drills, in his words, Egypt will practise personnel exchanges with the Russian side. "We plan to organize visits by Egyptian ships to Russian ports and send our observers to military drills in Russia," he said.

Apart from that, Fedotenkov said Russia and Egypt planned to sign an agreement on simplified procedure for port visits by their ships by the end of this year. "Several days ago, a joint commission ended its work and we have practically agreed the bulk of provisions of a future agreement on the simplified procedure for port visits by our countries’ ships," he said. "In August, the Egyptian part of the commission will arrive in Moscow to finalize this agreement and get it prepared for signing, which is planned at the end of this year. It is a very quick development of such a serious document."

The Russian-Egyptian naval exercise Friendship Bridge-2015 in the Mediterranean entered the active phase on June 10. The Russian and Egyptian ships drilled skills to organize air defense, search for, rescue and tug to safety a ship in distress, transfer cargoes from a helicopter on the move and inspect a suspicious ship.

Russia’s naval group participating in the exercise consisted of the guided missile cruiser The Moskva, missile-carrying hovercraft The Samum, tanker ship The Ivan Bubnov, sea-going tug MB-31, and amphibious assault ship The Alexander Shabalin. Egypt delegated two frigates - The Taba and The Sharm El-Sheikh, two missile boats -The April 25 and The June 18 and the Shalatin tanker.

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