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NATO Ends Macedonia Exercise

September 18, 1998

KRIVOLAK, Macedonia (AP) _ NATO and its partner countries ended a 26-nation exercise Friday in Macedonia, not far from Serbia’s troubled Kosovo province.

NATO officials have insisted the weeklong show of military capabilities had nothing to do with the situation in neighboring Kosovo, where ethnic Albanians are struggling for independence from the Yugoslav republic of Serbia.

But when NATO foreign ministers announced exercises in Albania and Macedonia last June, they said it was a part of their response to the aggressive tactics of Yugoslav President Slobodan Milosevic, who has used police and military force against the Albanian separatists.

``We have successfully gathered 26 nations here and I can say we had a very good exercise,″ said Canadian Col. Frederick Noseworthy, a commander in the exercise.

Among the 1,300 soldiers who took part in the exercise on the former Yugoslav Army military training grounds were about 20 U.S. troops. Altogether, troops from 13 NATO and 13 non-NATO countries participated.

According to NATO officials, the aim of the exercise was to train the armed forces of the participating nations in the kinds of problems they would face in a peacekeeping operation.

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