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King inaugurates SOFEX 2016, tours expo

By JT - May 10,2016 - Last updated at May 11,2016

His Majesty King Abdullah tours SOFEX military show, which His Majesty opened in Amman on Tuesday (Photo by Amjad Ghsoun)

AMMAN — His Majesty King Abdullah, the Supreme Commander of the Jordan Armed Forces-Arab Army (JAF), on Tuesday inaugurated the 11th Special Operations Forces Exhibition (SOFEX) 2016.

Later on Tuesday, the King observed a night military drill carried out by a joint special operations unit on the sidelines of SOFEX. Members of the delegations participating in the expo also attended the exercise.

SOFEX is considered the world’s leading event in the field and the only show of its kind in the Middle East and North Africa that is specialised in special operations and national security equipment, according to a Royal Court statement. 

SOFEX 2016 attracted more than 380 companies from 37 countries, and is an international event that introduces the leading defence equipment producers and developers to international senior military leaders, decision makers and government representatives.

Amer Tabbaa, the director of SOFEX, said that after the "great success" of SOFEX 2014, this year's version will be held at  a similar high level, especially as it coincides with Jordan's celebrations of the centennial of the Great Arab Revolt led by Sharif Hussein Bin Ali.

Over the past 20 years, SOFEX has been witnessing a growing success, Tabbaa said, noting that this three-day exhibition showcases the latest equipment, technologies and innovations in the fields of special operations, national security and defence industries, with the participation of King Abdullah II Design and Development Bureau (KADDB).

In his remarks at the opening event, Brig. Gen. Adnan Abbadi, commander of the Special Operations Forces, said that SOFEX is an opportunity for participants to show their unified stance against terrorism, adding that the quick developments the region and the world are witnessing impose major challenges that have to be addressed through full preparedness.

Responding to these developments has to be part of joint international efforts to achieve peace for next generations, Abbadi was quoted as saying in the statement.

Several Royal family members, civil and military officials, heads of participating delegations, ambassadors and military attachés attended the inauguration ceremony.

King Abdullah and SOFEX participants attended a high-altitude military parachuting implemented by Special Operations Forces personnel, followed by a show of Royal Jordanian Air Force helicopter  carrying the Jordanian flag and the Great Arab Revolt and JAF banners.

His Majesty also attended a drill carried out by military personnel from the Special Operations Forces and the Rapid Response Unit.

Later, the Supreme Commander toured the exhibition, including the pavilions of local, regional and international companies, and was briefed on the products on display.

The King visited KADDB section, which displays the latest products of companies affiliated with the bureau, and listened to a detailed briefing on the manufactured vehicles and equipment that had been modified to be used in special operations and defence fields, according to the statement.

On the sidelines of the exhibition, King Abdullah met with military leaders from the United Arab Emirates, US, UK, France, Greece and Poland, as well as economic figures representing major companies specialised in defence and military industries.

Talks focussed on ways to benefit from opportunities offered by SOFEX to build up successful military and economic partnerships.

The King also held a lunch banquet in honour of heads of delegations participating in SOFEX.

SOFEX is held once every two years on a 75,000-square-metre area since 1996, and provides local companies with a venue to showcase their latest products.

On the sidelines of SOFEX, King’s Military Adviser and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs-of-Staff Gen. Mashal Al Zaben discussed bilateral relations and military cooperation with Lt. General Hamad Mohammed Thani Al Rumaithi, chief of staff of the UAE Armed Forces, Chief of the Hellenic National Defence General Staff Admiral Evangelos Apostolakis, Kuwait Army Chief of Staff Lieutenant General Mohammad Khaled Al Kheder and Chief of the General Staff of the Armed Forces of Kazakhstan Gen. Saken Zhasuzakov.

 

Also on the sidelines of the event, Prime Minister Abdullah Ensour discussed bilateral relations, military cooperation and expertise exchange with the defence ministers of Croatia, Sudan and Pakistan and with the deputy defence minister of Turkey, the Jordan News Agency, Petra, reported. 

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