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European countries hold military exercise on mine search
www.chinaview.cn 2005-09-02 16:39:50

    RIGA, Sept. 2 (Xinhuanet) -- Twelve European countries started Friday a joint military exercise off the shores of Latvia to promote their cooperation in searching and destroying underwater mines and enhance shipping security.

    The drill, code-named "Open Spirit 2005," is aimed at increasing cooperation among the European countries in searching and destroying mines, said the general staff of the Latvian Navy.

    Participants from Latvia, Belgium, Denmark, Estonia, France, Lithuania, The Netherlands, Poland, Russia, Sweden, Britain and Germany will work together to search, identify and destroy mines and other explosives that were left in the Baltic Sea during WorldWars I and II, said the general staff.

    Altogether, 20 warships are to join the drill, which is scheduled to end on Sept. 13, it said.

    The annual "Open Spirit" exercise, organized by the German naval, has been held since 1997 in the three Baltic countries of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania in turns.

    More than 300 mines, bombs and other explosives have reportedlybeen found and destroyed in the Baltic waters since the first "Open Spirit" exercise. Enditem

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