NATO takes military exercises in Albania

NATO members and other nations hold joint military exercises in Albania to coordinate efforts in the fight against terrorism and smuggling the Albanian Defense Ministry said Wednesday.

NATO members, including Italy, Turkey, Greece, Slovenia, and Romania - were joined by Albania, Croatia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, and Jordan in the exercises that were being held between Sept. 13-23. The exercises were being held in the Vlora bay, 140 kilometers southwest of the capital, Tirana.

France, which withdrew from the alliance's integrated military structure in 1965, is also taking part.

The exercises include coordination of land, air and sea operations and methods of public communication, the ministry said in a statement.

"The goal of these exercises is to increase the level of cooperation with the NATO structures, partner countries and those countries that support the fight against terrorism," the ministry said.

Albania, which aims to join NATO, has small peacekeeping military units in Iraq, Afghanistan and Bosnia, the AP reports.

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