The Regional Response 2009 military exercises, which are carried out in the framework of NATO’s Partnership for Peace (PfP) program, conclude in Azerbaijan this weekend. The exercises commenced on April 18 and are due to end on April 26. Focused on multinational peacekeeping operations and intended to contribute to Azerbaijan’s Individual Partnership Action Plan (IPAP) with NATO, the Regional Response 2009 consists of three-day staff and five-day field exercises. The defense attaches and representatives of defense ministries from Bulgaria, Georgia, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Kazakhstan, Poland, Russia, Romania, Turkey, Ukraine and United States are attending the exercises as participants or observers. At the opening ceremony, Commander of U.S. Army Europe, General Carter F. Ham praised Azerbaijan’s contribution to the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan, where Azerbaijan maintains close to one hundred soldiers.