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Egypt to resume joint US military exercises

Egyptian army and military [File photo]
File photo of Egyptian soldiers boarding a troop transport helicopter

Egypt's armed forces confirmed this week that joint military exercises between the Egyptian military and the US will resume this month for the first time since 2009 after they were cancelled by America following the Egyptian army's crackdown on protesters in 2013.

The announcement of the exercises comes after President Donald Trump's administration denied Egypt $95.7 million in aid and delayed a payment of $195 million due to Cairo's failure to improve its human rights record and reforms.

Read: Trump calls Egypt's Sisi, says keen to overcome obstacles

The exercises are expected to take place between 10 and 12 September at the new Mohammad Najuib military base in west Alexandria, according to a statement released on the Egyptian military's official Facebook page.

"The Bright Star training is considered one of the most important joint Egyptian-American armed forces exercises, which reflects the depth of relations and cooperation between the armed forces of both countries," the statement explained.

Read: Egypt slams US decision to withhold aid

Egypt is considered one of Washington's closest allies in the Middle East, but their relationship became tense under the Obama administration when aid was briefly frozen to Egypt after President Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi overthrew Egypt's first democratically elected President Mohammed Morsi in a military coup in 2013 provoking mass protests.

Russia and Egypt secure deal

According to Russian reports, Egypt has finalised a deal to build a nuclear power plant with funding from Moscow after nearly two years of negotiations.

The reports come as Al-Sisi met with Russian President Vladimir Putin in China whilst attending a summit.

The nuclear plant will reportedly be built in Dabaa, about 130 kilometres northwest of Cairo on the Mediterranean coast and Putin has been sent an invite to mark the start of construction.

Read: Egypt looks to buy 50 advanced armoured vehicles from Russia

Egypt signed an agreement with Russia in 2015 to build a four-reactor power plant which will receive a $25 billion Russian loan to cover 85 per cent of the cost of the plant.

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