Chairman Thanks Troops for Helping Cement U.S-Egypt Ties
By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service
CAIRO, Egypt, March 13, 2005 The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff today thanked servicemembers here for the work they are doing to help cement ties between the United States and Egypt.
At an awards ceremony for military personnel assigned to the American embassy here, Air Force Gen. Richard B. Myers thanked the servicemembers and their families for their work in Egypt.
He told them that there has never been a more important time for the work they do. "Teamwork counts," Myers said. "Your way is ensuring the teamwork happens in a way that is smooth and continuous, and you are on the front lines all the time."
Myers stressed how important Egypt is as a strategic partner in the war on terror. Egyptians have a hospital in Afghanistan; the country has trained Iraqi soldiers in Egypt and stands ready to train more; and Egyptians have allowed overflight rights to coalition aircraft traveling to Iraq and Afghanistan and have provided security for sea travel through the Suez Canal.
Egypt is the largest Arab country, with at least 71 million people. "How they go is how the region is going to develop over the decades to come," Myers said.
Myers met with his Egyptian counterpart, Lt. Gen. Hamdy Waheba, and Defense Minister Field Marshal Muhammad Tantawi. He spoke with them about continuing the military-to-military relationships between America and Egypt.
He also spoke to them about this year's Bright Star exercise. The United States is committed to the exercise, "but not at the same levels we have in past years in terms of ground forces, because our ground forces are tied up doing other things," Myers said.
The United States will not mobilize reservists to participate in the exercise. However, Myers said, the U.S. naval and air contingent will probably be beefed up.
The Egyptians understand the U.S. position and agree with it, officials said.
Myers said 14 countries will participate in Exercise Bright Star, and 38 countries will send observers.