Publication: Monitor Volume: 2 Issue: 136

Baltic Challenge 96, the most important military exercise held in the Baltic states since the restoration of their independence, began yesterday at Adazi military base outside Riga and will continue for 10 days. The participants are 320 U.S. soldiers, 80 from host country Latvia, 70 each from Estonia and Lithuania, and 160 from the joint Baltic Battalion. The U.S. pays most of the costs of the exercise. Held in the framework of NATO’s Partnership for Peace program, the exercise is designed in part to promote tactical coordination among the troops and test the adaptability of their equipment for joint operations. Senior civilian and military officials from the three Baltic states will be on hand. The exercise will henceforth be held annually, its venue to rotate among the three Baltic states. (BNS, Western agencies, July 9 and 10)

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