ASMARA, Nov 9 (AFP) — The French and Eritrean navies have begun a cooperation programme, a top French navy commander said Tuesday.
“We are at the very beginning of our cooperation… Before, we weren’t very present in the Red Sea,” the commander of the French navy in the Red Sea and the Indian Ocean, Vice Admiral Xavier Rolin told a news conference in the Eritrean capital, Asmara.
“The first field of cooperation will concern the security of military divers, because the Eritrean team lacks training,” he said.
“In 2005, three French minesweepers will come to Eritrea,” he added.
The command and supply vessel captained by Rolin, La Marne, was Tuesday docked in the Eritrean port of Massawa.
The French navy is part of the US-led anti-terrorist operation, “Enduring Freedom”, which was launched after the attacks of September 11, 2001.
“We check suspect ships. Sometimes we find drugs and armaments, but not very often. We have never discovered a clear link with terrorism. Terrorists use the sea very little. These checks have a good deterrent effect,” he said.