US, Moroccan military officials planning for African Lion 21
Major Gen. Andrew Rohling, deputy commanding general of US Army Europe –Africa, and Gen. Belkhir El Farouk, Royal Armed Forces Southern Zone Commander met, on Thursday in Agadir, to discuss plans for conducting next year’s African Lion, the largest military training exercise on the continent, amidst the uncertainty created by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The high-ranking officers agreed that the African Lion exercise, scheduled for June, “represents a chance to show the continued strong strategic partnership between the United States and Morocco, even as both countries face COVID-19,” according to a statement by the Southern European Task Force – Africa.
“It was a pleasure meeting Gen. El Farouk in person for the first time,” said Rohling who praised Gen. El Farouk’s “understanding of the strategic environment,” according to the statement.
“We clearly understand the importance of protecting our forces – US, Moroccan, and others anticipated to participate – from the pandemic,” Rohling said. “Our staffs are carefully and deliberately planning African Lion 21 with this in mind,” he added.
During these talks, the military officials also discussed regional defense and security topics, force readiness issues and COVID-19 challenges.
“We have a number of shared mutual challenges,” Rohling said. “I’m confident that we will continue to build upon our already very strong relationship to meet these challenges,” he stated.
African Lion 2020 was cancelled because of the COVID-19 pandemic.