COOPERATIVE DETERMINATION 99
PRESS INFORMATION CENTRE
No. 4 CONTACT: MAJ Shappell
30 November 1999 or Alev Bilgin
Soldiers from seven NATO countries and nine Partnership for Peace nations began an exercise yesterday in Bucharest, Romania aimed at training participants in peace support operations, including humanitarian assistance.
The exercise, named Cooperative Determination 99, began with a ceremony held at the Polivalenta Sports Hall.
General Tamer Akbas, Commander of NATO's Joint Command Southeast and the officer commanding the exercise, thanked the Government of Romania for its outstanding support of this exercise, which he declared was the culmination of many months of planning by many NATO headquarters. He stated that his headquarters gives Partnership for Peace exercises a high priority because they go a long way toward promoting peace and stability in this area of the world.
During the ceremony, Romanian President Emil Constantinescu told participants that this exercise would have an immediate impact, as this sort of military cooperation enhances regional stability and security. He said that Romania wishes to integrate herself within the NATO's structures, and considers the Partnership for Peace as a "transient stage, preceding the national strategic aim of full integration with NATO."
Declaring that Romania was honored to be hosting this NATO/PfP exercise, Romanian Minister of Defense Victor Babiuc noted that the exercise coincided with the Southeastern European Defense Minister's meeting, which will be held today in Bucharest. Both of these initiatives are important to Romania, he said, because Romania considers regional and international cooperation as a way of actively participating in confidence, security and peace building on the European continent.
In addition to the NATO (France, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Portugal, Turkey and USA) and PfP (Azerbaijan, Bulgaria, Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia*, Georgia, Moldava, Romania, Slovakia, Switzerland, and Ukraine) nations, participants include the International Committee of the Red Cross and observers from Jordan.
For further information and photos, visit Joint Headquarters Southeast's web site (nato.org.tr), or call the exercise Press Information Center at (40)(1) 420-1792, 420-1945 or 420-2213. The fax number is 420-2324.
The exercise continues in Bucharest until 5 December.
*Note: Turkey recognizes the Republic of Macedonia by its constitutional name.