Morocco and Tunisia to 'observe' major NATO Mediterranean drills
The exercises will be held simultaneously across 17 locations in the Western Mediterranean region in two phases between October and November.
The objective of the exercise is to train the NATO Response Force (NRF), a rapid intervention formation capable of deployment wherever necessary.
This is taking place amid growing threats from radical jihadist groups in North Africa, and increased activity by organized human traffickers in the Mediterranean.
The drills will be hosted by Spain, Portugal and Italy, according to a Spanish Ministry of Defence statement. The exercise will include training on naval and aerial actions, ground offensives, amphibious landings, and special forces operations.
According to Moroccan press reports, observer nations are usually represented in war games by a small detail of officers, led by the military attache in the host nations.
In addition to increased cooperation with NATO, observer nations benefit from the exercises by examining the latest military equipment and tactics.
In May, the United States designated Tunisia as a "non-NATO ally." The status qualifies Tunisia for certain privileges supporting defence and security cooperation but does not provide any security commitment to that country.
Other countries with the designation include Afghanistan, Argentina, Australia, Bahrain, Egypt, Israel, Japan, Jordan, Kuwait, Morocco, New Zealand, Pakistan, the Philippines, Thailand and Korea.