Sun, 03 Jul 2022

TUNIS, May 22 (Xinhua) -- The Phoenix Express 2022 military exercises with the participation of maritime forces from 13 countries kicked off on Sunday on the northern Tunisian coasts, the Tunisian Defense Ministry announced.

The annual drills aim to develop capabilities and strengthen coordination in fighting "illegal acts such as maritime terrorism and arms and drug smuggling" and "preserve the security and stability of the Mediterranean," the ministry said in a statement.

Besides the host country, the joint exercises involve navies from Algeria, Egypt, Libya, Morocco, Mauritania, the United States, Italy, Spain, Belgium, Britain, Greece and Malta.

International organizations including the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime and the European Fisheries Control Agency also participate in the exercises, scheduled to conclude on June 4.

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