CAIRO, Dec. 9 (Xinhua) -- The Egyptian armed forces started on Sunday joint counterterrorism military exercises with African counterparts, the Egyptian army said in a statement.
Sudan, Nigeria and Burkina Faso are the first group of states from the Community of Sahel-Saharan States (CEN-SAD) with which Egypt plans to hold joint drills.
Held at Egypt's Mohamed Naguib military base, the largest in the Middle East and Africa that is located in Egypt's Mediterranean province of Matrouh, the joint exercises will last until Dec. 14.
"It is the first time to be held in Egypt," said Egyptian military spokesman Tamer al-Refaie in the statement, noting that the joint work aims at bolstering Egypt's military relations with fellow African states and creating harmony among African special forces dealing with terrorist threats.
"It trains the participants forces on the way to deal with different terrorist threats such as militant groups, free hostages and work as one team with the forces of other friendly states," Refaie added.
He noted that CEN-SAD states are divided into several groups that will have similar joint military exercises at different dates according to a specific timetable to include all them.
The drills seek to enhance the security and stability of Africa in confrontation of threats and challenges, according to the statement.
The CEN-SAD member states include Libya, the founder, Egypt, Sudan, Nigeria, Burkina Faso, Ghana, Cote d'Ivoire, the Comoros, Mali, Liberia, Morocco, Tunisia, Guinea-Bissau, Mauritania, Gambia, Central African Republic, Eritrea, Benin, Senegal, Togo, Somalia, Niger, Chad, Djibouti and Sierra Leone.
Egypt regularly holds military exercises with Arab, African and Western countries to boost military collaboration and exchange military expertise with them.