Multinational NATO exercises launched in Georgia

Cooperative Best Effort-2002 /CBE-2002/ NATO exercises were launched on Monday in Georgia. The annual event with the Partnership for Peace NATO programme will involve six NATO Participating nations /Canada, Greece, Hungary, Turkey, Great Britain and the United States/ and nine NATO Partner nations /Armenia, Austria, Azerbaijan, Bulgaria, Georgia, Lithuania, Moldova, Romania and Ukraine/.

Uzbekistan officially announced its refusal to participate in the event a month prior to the exercises referring to a similar operation, which was being held in the country at that moment. Ukrainian troops will not participate in the event either due to financial problems, but the country will be represented by two officers in the joint staff of the exercises.

Georgy Kazalikashvili, a Vice-Colonel of the Georgian Special Force, will command the joint battalion of the exercises' participants, which will be the first time in the history of Georgian participation in NATO training operations. The exercises will be executed by the Commander, Joint Command South East, General Oktar Ataman.

CBE-2002 envisages a peace support operation scenario in bordering territories of two states, which used to be one country. In line with the scenario, a country has separated into two independent states, which was followed by a border conflict.

The exercises will be held on the Viziani base of the Georgian Defence Ministry. The base used to be occupied by Russian troops /Russian Group of Forces in Transcaucasia/. A year ago, the facility was handed over to the Georgian side in compliance with an agreement signed at the 1999 OSCE summit in Istanbul.

Russia will not take part in CBE-2002, nor did it participate in the Cooperative partner-2001 Navy exercises, which were also held in Georgia last year.

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