Sudan, Saudi Arabia conclude joint air exercise

Huang Panyue

KHARTOUM, April 9 (Xinhua) -- Sudan and Saudi Arabia on Sunday concluded the "Blue Shield 1" air exercise between Sudanese and Saudi Air Forces at Meroe Airbase, some 200 km north of Sudanese capital Khartoum, official SUNA news agency reported.

Sudanese President Omar al-Bashir and Commander of the Saudi Air Forces Mohammed Bin Saleh Al-Otaibi attended the conclusion of the air exercise which lasted for 10 days.

"No doubt that developing the defensive air capabilities in the Arab countries constitutes a deterrent shield against aspirations of the enemies which are tending to control their potentialities and resources," said al-Bashir when addressing the concluding ceremony of the exercise.

"This exercise indicates the healthy, deeply-rooted and progressive ties between Sudan and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, and reaffirms the importance of cooperation and exchange of experiences to build a solid base for uniting the concepts for the sake of Arab solidarity and joint Arab action," al-Bashir noted.

Al-Bashir reiterated that Sudan's security is inseparable from the security in the countries of the region and the area, saying "we have worked for building strategic partnerships with the neighboring countries in fields of security and military cooperation and forming joint forces with some countries which have achieved remarkable successes at all security and social domains."

He called on the Arab countries to focus on joint work to care for their vital and strategic interests, protect their national borders and maintain their national and regional security through cooperation in all fields, namely the security and military cooperation, to face the standing threats and risks.

He reiterated willingness to further enhance his country's ties with Saudi Arabia, saying that the two countries' ties stand on common values and strategic interests with social, economic, political and security dimensions.

The Sudanese Air Force participated in the "Blue Shield 1" exercise with a total of 29 fighter planes (Mi-29s, Su-25s, Su-24s and Mi-17s), while Saudi Arabia participated with 18 planes (Typhoons, F-15s and others)

A total of 450 military men from the Sudanese Air Force and 250 from the Saudi Air Force took part in the exercise.

Sudan has been taking part in the operations of the Saudi-led Arab coalition against the Houthi Group in Yemen since March 26, 2015.

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