French navy to exercises with Saudi and Kuwait

5th February 2007, Comments 0 comments

KUWAIT CITY, Feb 3, 2007 (AFP) - The French navy plans to hold separate exercises with naval forces of the Gulf states of Saudi Arabia and Kuwait as part of military cooperation with them, a senior commander said Saturday.

KUWAIT CITY, Feb 3, 2007 (AFP) - The French navy plans to hold separate exercises with naval forces of the Gulf states of Saudi Arabia and Kuwait as part of military cooperation with them, a senior commander said Saturday.

*sidebar1*At least three minesweepers will take part in joint exercises with the Kuwaiti navy around mid-April, Rear Admiral Jacques Launay, commander of the French naval forces in the Indian Ocean, said in Kuwait.

Talks are still ongoing with Saudi Arabia for similar exercises in the Red Sea to determine the date, said Launay who arrived in Kuwait Saturday aboard the supply flagship VAR on a four-day visit.

The French commander said that Paris has no plans as of now to boost its naval presence in the Gulf in the event of a military showdown between the United States and Iran.

At least five French warships are always present in the Indian Ocean maritime zone, which includes the Gulf waters, as part of its contribution to Afghanistan operations and maintaining security in the region, he said.

France plans to move its sole aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle closer to Afghanistan by mid-March, he said.

French navy maintains a permanent base in the African nation of Djibouti while it has no plans for any permanent presence in the Gulf waters, he said.

He said the French vessels conduct around 50 inspections of commercial ships in the region as part of its effort to combat piracy and terrorism, the Admiral said. None has so far involved the use of force.

Copyright AFP

Subject: French news, French navy, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait

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