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NATO military exercise in Georgia begins.2009-05-06 11:14
First military servicemen from NATO member and partner countries have already arrived to Vaziani base to participate in the Alliance military maneuvers. - ITAR TASS.gt-en-newsitem-inside
According to MIA of Georgia, 212 participants are already in Vaziani. "In fact, Cooperative Longbow 09/Cooperative Lancer 09 exercise has begun today, the official opening ceremony to be held on May 11", the source in the Ministry of Defense said.
Today the first, staff part of the exercise (Cooperative Lancer) begins in Vaziani (Tbilisi outskirt).They imply studying staff skills of NATO and procedures, also increase of compatibility of partner countries at the level of multinational brigades while managing crisis situations. This part will be finished on May 19th .
The second part (Cooperative Longbow) will be conducted from May 21 to June 3, in Vaziani.
19 NATO member and partner countries (including Georgia) intended to participate, but only 14 are left. Armenia, Kazakhstan, Moldova, Serbia, Switzerland do not participate for different reasons.
It's worthy noticing that in various sources the list of countries to participate looks different. According to the most wide-spread version, 19 countries intended to participate, at the same time mass media reported the refuse of Latvia and Estonia, and the list of 19 was presumably composed without consideration of these countries.
The decision of NATO to conduct maneuvers in Georgia were not affected neither with opposition rallies, nor with the yesterday's incident in Mukhrovani tank battalion, which, according to the MIA and the Ministry of Defense, was meant to derange the exercise.
"No changes to the schedule were made, it begins on May 6, as it was planned", a source in the Ministry said.