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Monday, September 25, 2006

Russia To Participate in NATO Mediterranean Operation


The Black Sea Fleet will participate in NATO’s Operation Active Endeavor, a maritime anti-terror program in the Mediterranean Sea, Russian Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov said Sept. 22, according to reports.

”Our Black Sea fleet has actively worked on military preparations and questions of operational coordination with NATO’s naval forces in the region. We are ready for the operation,” Ivanov said in the southern Russian city of Sochi, ITAR-TASS reported.

The minister noted the October operation would take place only in the Mediterranean, saying that in the Black Sea “security should be preserved only by ... the two leading Black Sea region states, Russia and Turkey.”

NATO began Operation Active Endeavor after the September 11, 2001, attacks against the United States. The program is devoted to detecting and preventing terrorist activities in the Mediterranean.

NATO-Russian relations have been strained in recent months as former Soviet countries Ukraine and Georgia have taken steps toward joining the alliance.

In early September, Russia cancelled joint military exercises with NATO planned for the Russian region of Pskov.
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