The U.S. army will participate in the “Bright Star” joint military exercises which will be held in Egypt in September, AP reported, citing Egyptian military sources.
The sources said the maneuvers would start early September and end in October.
They will be carried out in the northeastern region of El-Alamein, involving naval, air and ground forces.
A source at the U.S. embassy in Cairo confirmed the reports, but refused to give details.
Egypt’s Rose al-Youssef newspaper reported that thirteen countries will participate in the exercises, including Britain, France, Germany and Italy. The daily said Jordan and Pakistan will take part for the first time.
The war games are normally carried out every two years but were canceled in 2003 due to the U.S. military’s commitments in Iraq and Afghanistan. The last Bright Star exercise was held in October 2001 when around 1,800 U.S. forces participated.
U.S. presses Egypt to allow election monitors
The United States pressured Egypt to allow independent observers to monitor next week’s presidential elections, but dismissed opposition complaints of unfair coverage by the media.
“It (observers) is something that is commonly done. It certainly allows the world to get an independent picture of the electoral process and any issues that might arise during the electoral process,” said State Department spokesman Sean McCormack.
“This is something that we encourage around the world, and we urge the Egyptian government to agree to let in election observers,” he added.
Egypt has refused the U.S. President George W. Bush’s repeated calls to allow international monitors for the September 7 election, insisting that there would be enough domestic monitoring to ensure a transparent vote.
Rivals to President Mohamed Hosni Mubarak as well as several non-governmental organizations filed a law suit on Sunday against the presidential election committee over its refusal to allow civil society monitors inside voting stations.
Egyptian political watchdogs also said the country’s media, both state-run and private, was providing more coverage of Mubarak’s bid for a fifth six-year term as president.
McCormack didnÂ’t join in the criticism, saying, “I think you have seen other presidential candidates with access to the media.
He also refused to say what he called “midterm assessments or play-by-plays” on the election campaign so far.
“What we’ll do is we’ll take a look at the entire run-up to the election, the election day and the post-election period and we’ll have some comment at that point.” McCormack said.