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MAJOR U.S. DRILL CANCELLED

Every two years since 1981, the U.S. and Egyptian militaries have drilled together. But this year's "Bright Star" exercises have been cancelled; there just aren't enough American soldiers to go through with the maneuvers."This decision was made purely on technical grounds because of commitments we have in Iraq, Afghanistan, and in fighting the war against terrorism," Gordon Gray, the charge daffaires at the U.S. Embassy in Cairo, told the Associated Press.Talon News calls Bright Star "the largest and most significant coalition military exercise conducted by the Central Command." It's seen as a way to increase cooperation between the Egyptian and American militaries, and as a way to enhance Middle East stability. Over 70,000 soldiers were scheduled to participate in Bright Star.According to a Defense Department statement, 49 of 182 exercises planned for the current fiscal year have been canceled or rescheduled.

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