WASHINGTON, DC --(Marketwired - May 19, 2015) - African Lion, the largest annual US joint military exercise in Africa, kicks off phase two of its 2015 operation this week in Agadir, Morocco. Some 2,500 personnel from participating countries, including the US, Morocco, the Netherlands, Belgium, Germany, Senegal, and Tunisia, are participating. This week's exercise will also include the joint Moroccan-US Air Force exercise "Majestic Eagle," which will focus on aerial refueling and close air support training missions.

Phase one of the exercise, which was held in February, centered on the creation of a Combined Joint Task Force (CJTF) to prepare for a simulated international crisis, taking troops through a scenario that focused on humanitarian aid, disaster relief, and rapid and stable deployment operations.

"This exercise reinforces training engagements conducted in previous African Lion exercises and creates a foundation for slated inter-military cooperation in the future by continuing to build the familiarity and operational proficiency with Moroccan Armed Forces," read a statement released by US Marine Corps Forces Europe and Africa.

African Lion is just one of the many ways the US and Morocco coordinate on security measures. Designated as a "major non-NATO ally," Morocco is the only Maghreb country to be a member of the US-led anti-ISIS coalition. During the US-Africa Leaders Summit in August 2014, the two countries signed a Framework for Cooperation on Training for Civilian Security Services "to develop mutual expertise in the areas of crisis management, border security, and terrorism investigations to strengthen regional counterterrorism capabilities and to deny space to terrorists and terrorist networks." The framework also outlines steps to develop Moroccan training experts and then jointly train forces in partner countries in the Maghreb and Sahel -- a clear sign that the US continues to recognize Morocco's vital role in promoting stability and security in the region.

"Morocco strives to be a leader and partner in a troubled region of the world. Hosting African Lion is an integral part of Morocco's commitment to cooperation on regional security efforts with the US, the European Union, and its neighbors in the Maghreb, Sahel, and sub-Saharan Africa," said Executive Director of the Moroccan American Center Jordan Paul.

The Moroccan American Center for Policy (MACP) is a non-profit organization whose principal mission is to inform opinion makers, government officials, and interested publics in the United States about political and social developments in Morocco and the role being played by the Kingdom of Morocco in broader strategic developments in North Africa, the Mediterranean, and the Middle East.

This material is distributed by the Moroccan American Center for Policy on behalf of the Government of Morocco. Additional information is available at the Department of Justice in Washington, DC.

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Jordana Merran
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jmerran@moroccanamericancenter.com