NATO news; air defence, and naval manoeuvres
Archived Articles 07 Apr 2006 Adu RaudkiviEWR
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The parliamentary defence committees of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania called on the three country's capabilities to allow them to take over the patrols of the skies from other NATO members.
"The aim is to gradually increase the capability of our own countries to take over the patrolling of the skies," Trivimi Velliste, head of the Estonian Parliamentary Defense Committee, told Agence France Presse, after a meeting of officials from all three Baltic nations in Tallinn.

"First we need proper military airfields, then planes," he said.
Defence officials passed a resolution urging their governments to continue working towards the establishment of a permanent NATO air policing solution in co-operation with the allies.
Currently older NATO members take turns patrolling the skies which emerged from Soviet rule fifteen years ago as they don't have the capacity to patrol their airspace themselves.
While NATO has not set a deadline for them to assume responsibility for their own airspace themselves, "We have been notified that we should gradually take over the patrols ourselves," Velliste said.
Poland finished patrolling Baltic skies with four Soviet made, but western renovated MIG-29 fighters, on March 31, 2006 giving the responsibility to Turkey, in four, US made F-16 fighters.
Meanwhile NATO stages a major naval exercise that started in March 24, 2006 and will go on until April 6, 2006 in the Baltic Sea and North Sea, involving 6,000 personnel, 60 warships, 5 submarines and 13 aircraft.
This activity will involve 17 member states including Estonia along with non-member states like Finland, Sweden and the Ukraine and is the last exercise before the major manoeuvres in September 11 to be held in Cape Verde, Africa involving 20,000 personnel and a multiforce, rapid deployment component.
Estonia is firmly into NATO with both feet.
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