NOUAKCHOTT: Military exercises involving 20 countries including Western, Arab and African countries, will start tomorrow in Mauritania.
Mauritanian News Agency quoted the exercises coordinator Colonel Hamada Ould Baeda as saying "The exercises will take place in the eastern provinces of Mauritania with the participation of twenty Arab and foreign countries".
He denied any connection between the exercises and the current developments in Mali, stressing that these maneuvers has been programmed three years ago.
Colonel Hamada added that these maneuvers were the result of security cooperation between Mauritania and the United States confirming that it will not harm deployment of the army on the border with Mali, which was declared a military zone.
He said the maneuvers will not affect the provinces in which they will be staged because it will be held in closed military areas and away from the population, pointing out that over a period of three weeks public facilities such as schools will be built while airports in the region will be improved.
U.S. troops have arrived since 4 days to Mauritanian territory to oversee military exercises, with the United Nations decided to establish a centre to counter terrorism in the region. (QNA)