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Reports: Sudan-Saudi Navies in First Exercises

Feb. 18, 2013 - 08:29AM   |  
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KHARTOUM — The navies of Sudan and Saudi Arabia have launched their first joint military exercises in the Red Sea, the official SUNA news agency reported Sunday.

The training is to run until Wednesday and will focus on anti-smuggling operations and “boosting security and stability,” SUNA quoted Sudanese military spokesman Sawarmi Khaled Saad as saying.

Two Saudi naval vessels and troops are participating, he said.

The exercise comes after warships from Iran, with which Saudi Arabia has tense relations, docked at Port Sudan last October and December. At the time, Saad described the Iranian port calls as part of normal military exchanges between the two states.

Israeli officials have expressed concern about arms smuggling through Sudan, and the visits by Tehran’s navy came after Khartoum accused the Jewish state of an Oct. 23 air strike against a military factory in the capital. The incident led to speculation that Iranian weapons were stored or manufactured there.

Israel refused all comment on Sudan’s accusation about the factory blast, while Sudan’s foreign ministry denied Iran had any involvement in the plant.

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