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    JOINT AIR MONITORING SYSTEM OF THE BALTIC COUNTRIES INCORPORATED IN THE NATO SYSTEM

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    RIGA, April 7 (RIA Novosti). The Joint Air Monitoring System of the Baltic countries - Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia - called Baltnet has been officially incorporated in the NATO Integrated Air Defence System on Wednesday, reports the Latvian newspaper Neatkariga.

    "The Baltic countries have long been summarising information provided by military and civilian radars in their territory," Gatis Gailitis, spokesman of the Latvian Air Force, told the newspaper. In his words, the collected data were processed in Lithuania but as of today they will be "transferred directly to the NATO system." The decision to create Baltnet was made by the three governments in 1998. According to the press service of the Latvian Defence Ministry, the system includes national air monitoring centres of the three republics, a regional centre in Karmelava outside Vilnius, and radars and communication systems.

    The USA and Norway took part in creating Baltnet and Denmark and Norway helped train personnel for it. Baltnet contributed to the deployment of four Belgian F-16 fighters at the Zokniai airfield outside Siauliai, Lithuania. They have been patrolling the air space of the three Baltic states since March 29.

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