Morocco and the US kicked off the annual African Lion military exercises on Monday, which will last until the end of the month.
The exercises include 7,500 personnel from ten nations, among them Brazil, France and Britain. Observers from NATO will also be present, and for the first time, officials from Israel.
The military manoeuvres kicked off in Agadir and will also take place in Kenitra, Tan Tan, Taoudant and Mahbes.
According to a statement issued by US Africa Command, some manoeuvres will take place in Tunisia, Senegal and Ghana.
The “exercise bolsters interoperability among partner nations and supports US military strategic readiness to respond to crises and contingencies in Africa and around the world,” it added.
The joint exercises were first held in 2007 and come amid heightened tensions between Rabat and neighbouring Algeria, particularly over the disputed Western Sahara region, which the US recognised as Moroccan territory in exchange for Rabat’s re-establishing diplomatic ties with Israel. This was followed by Algiers severing relations with the kingdom over “hostile acts” as Morocco and Israel have strengthened defence cooperation.
Some of this year’s edition of African Lion will take part in the Western Sahara region, for the second time.