Tunisia’s Defence Minister Imed Memmiche has kicked off Exercise Phoenix Express 2022, the 17th iteration of the North African maritime exercise that is taking place in Tunisia, and throughout the Mediterranean Sea.
The exercise, which takes place from 23 May to 3 June, is organised in association with the United States Africa Command (AFRICOM) and the United States Naval Forces for Europe and Africa (NAVAF).
The exercise focuses on regional cooperation, maritime domain awareness, information-sharing practices, and operational capabilities, enhancing efforts to promote safety and security in the Mediterranean Sea and territorial waters of participating North African nations. Thirteen nations are scheduled to participate in the exercise.
“Tunisia regularly demonstrates their commitment and willingness to partner with the US in our shared vision of peace and maritime stability in North Africa and the surrounding Mediterranean waters,” said Admiral Robert Burke, commander, US Naval Forces Europe-Africa and Allied Joint Forces Command Naples.
“In the past six months, aircraft from the Harry S Truman carrier strike group flew with Tunisian aircraft to conduct strike training on their ranges, and US Navy ships sailed together in bilateral exercises with the Tunisian Navy. Exercise Phoenix Express is yet another opportunity to continue building our partnership and readiness with Tunisia by training together.”
The exercise is hosted at the La Goulette Naval Base in Tunis, and includes a preparatory in-port phase as well as five days of maritime security training in the Mediterranean Sea. The at-sea portion of the exercise will test North African, European, and US maritime forces’ abilities to respond to irregular migration and to combat illicit trafficking and the movement of illegal goods and materials, the US Navy said.
“Phoenix Express is a testament to the importance of our joint defence cooperation with Tunisia and regional maritime partners to ensure the safety and security of the Mediterranean and sustain global commerce. We are proud of our continued collaboration with Tunisia, a major non-NATO ally, to strengthen interoperability as we work together to confront mutual regional security concerns,” said US Embassy Tunisia Chargée d’Affaires a.i., Natasha Franceschi.
Participating nations in Phoenix Express 2022 include Algeria, Belgium, Egypt, Greece, Italy, Libya, Malta, Mauritania, Morocco, Spain, Tunisia, United Kingdom, and the United States.