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NATO Prepares Major U.S. Exercise with Partnership States

Washington, July 29 (RFE/RL) -- Sixteen countries in NATO's Partnership for Peace program plan to participate in a major land and sea military exercise in the United States next month. U.S. officials say it will be the largest NATO exercise held in the United States.

The maneuvers will focus on maritime training, including amphibious operations, combined East-West peacekeeping and humanitarian relief tactics and procedures. NATO participants include Canada, the Netherlands and the United States.

The Partnership countries expected to participate include the three Baltic states--Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania--along with Romania, Slovakia, Bulgaria and Albania, as well as Austria, Hungary, Poland and Moldova.

The remaining participants are Ukraine, Georgia and Kazakhstan, as well as Uzbekistan and Kyrgyzstan.

U.S. officials said Azerbaijan, Denmark and the Czech Republic plan to send representatives to observe the two-week exercises, which will take place in the southern U.S. state of North Carolina in the second half of August.