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Central Asians In Denmark To Expand Military Cooperation

Copenhagen, June 17 (RFE/RL) - Military officials from Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan arrived in Denmark today to study international military co-operation.

Their training will take place at Vordingborg military base, the headquarters of Baltic Peacekeeping Force (BALTAP). The Central Asian officials will also visit a training site in Latvia.

The initiative to expand military co-operation with the Central Asian states came last March from the United States. The project is modeled on the partnership between Denmark and the Baltic states.

Denmark has for some time been co-ordinating military training and exercises with the three Baltic republics Latvia, Estonia and Lithuania.

The three Baltic states are not likely to enter NATO quickly. But Denmark has repeatedly argued that they should eventually be accepted as full members in the alliance. In the meantime, Denmark wants to give Latvia, Estonia and Lithuania some extra security protection beyond the Partnership for Peace program.

To accomplish that, Copenhagen pushes for decentralizing the Partnership for Peace program giving greater competence and powers to regional military centers.

BALTAP has been operative within the NATO Partnership for Peace Program for several years now and has facilitated the Baltic peacekeeping operation in the former Yugoslavia.

The idea behind bringing Central Asian military here is to create a similar partnership in that region, probably under the name TRANSBAT.

But, according to Hans Haekkerup, Denmark will n-o-t give financial help to the Central Asians save for organizing their visit here.