Military cooperation between Morocco and the United States of America is “limitless” and boasts enormous opportunities for the future, said on Thursday Major General Andrew M. Rohling, Deputy Commanding General for Africa and Commander of the United States Army Southern Europe Task Force.

The senior American official, who was speaking at a phone press conference on the Moroccan-American military exercise “African Lion 2021”, underway since June 7, highlighted the role of Morocco as a key ally in the North African region thanks to its “substantial contribution” to the preservation of peace and stability in the Maghreb. General Rohling also noted that the United States and Morocco are linked by a strong and solid partnership spanning 200 years, recalling that the Kingdom was the first country to recognize the United States of America in 1777.

Morocco has always being gracious by hosting, each year, this joint military exercise, “one of the most important and complex exercises in the world, involving directly 8,000 soldiers from eight countries, in addition to 15 observers who are potential participants for the African Lion 2022,” said the senior US official.

“During the last two weeks, we have carried out several combined activities across Moroccan and Tunisian territories, which have mobilized significant land, air and sea equipment in order to strengthen interoperability between the participants in terms of planning and conducting joint operations,” he said.

“Military operations encompass the humanitarian component, disaster relief and the resolution of potential conflicts, among others,” he said, adding that African Lion 2021 seeks to incorporate all of these scenarios into its simulations.

The objectives of this exercise are numerous: to reinforce the maneuver capabilities of the participating units, to perfect tactics, techniques and procedures, develop cyber defense capabilities, train the air component to conduct fighter, support, and air-to-air refueling operations, consolidate maritime security cooperation, and conduct naval tactics and conventional warfare exercises at sea.

It also includes training and simulation of command activities on operations against violent terrorist organizations. The 17th combined Moroccan-US exercise will continue until June 18, 2021 in the regions of Agadir, Tifnit, Tan-Tan, Mehbes, Tafraout, Ben Guerir and Kenitra, involving thousands of multinational military personnel.

In addition to the United States of America and the Kingdom of Morocco, the 17th edition of this exercise brings together Great Britain, Brazil, Canada, Tunisia, Senegal, the Netherlands, Italy and the Atlantic Alliance, in addition to military observers from thirty countries representing Africa, Europe and America.