Cohen’s Trip Firms U.S.-Egypt Ties
CAIRO, Egypt (AP) _ The United States and Egypt reaffirmed their strong military ties Thursday as U.S. Defense Secretary William Cohen brought his Mideast tour to Cairo.
Cohen and his Egyptian counterpart, Field Marshal Hussein Tantawi, held talks soon after Cohen’s arrival Thursday. On Friday, Cohen is to observe exercises in the biannual Bright Star war games in the Egyptian desert involving troops from Egypt, the United States and nine other nations.
Bright Star, which began in 1981, has been held even during low points in the U.S.-Egyptian political relationship, underlying the importance both countries place on their military alliance. Egypt contributed 36,000 troops to the U.S.-led alliance in the 1990-91 Gulf War, helping rally Arab support for Washington.
Cohen, who is on a tour of nine countries in the region, arrived in Egypt from the Persian Gulf. There, he announced the United States and the United Arab Emirates are close to sealing an $8 billion deal for 80 U.S.-built F-16s.
Cohen has traveled to Bahrain, Qatar, Dubai and Saudi Arabia. After his two-day stop in Egypt, he visits Kuwait, Jordan, Oman and Israel.