Thursday, November 11, 2010

Europe tests amphibious military capacity in Senegal

Three European countries and Senegal on Monday began a military exercise testing Europe's amphibious warfare capacity to resolve various crises in the world, military officials said.

"This exercise is the first organised by the European Amphibious Initiative (IAE). Its objective is to ensure interoperability between ground troops and naval forces," said Dutch Admiral Peter Lenselink during a press conference.

France, Italy, the Netherlands and Senegal are taking part in the manoeuvres aimed at demonstrating the IAE's capacity to plan and carry out joint amphibious operations over a long distance for a long period.

The IAE was founded in 2000 by Britain, France, Italy, the Netherlands and Spain to boost European amphibious capacity which can be used by the European Union or within the NATO framework.

The military exercise is open to all countries in the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS), said Lenselink, speaking on one of 11 ships taking part in the operation which will last until November 20.

"This is the first time that we are working with so many countries simultaneously. We are looking to improve our operational capabilities to resolve local crises," Senegalese military officer Omar Kane told reporters.

A total of 3,800 soldiers, 18 aircraft and 105 vehicles are taking part in this exercise which has been organised and coordinated by France, current holder of the rotating presidency of the IAE.

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