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    The Regional Response 2009 military exercises got underway in Azerbaijan on Saturday, the country's Defense Ministry said in a statement.

    BAKU, April 18 (RIA Novosti) - The Regional Response 2009 military exercises got underway in Azerbaijan on Saturday, the country's Defense Ministry said in a statement.

    The exercises, under NATO's Partnership for Peace program, run until April 26 and are intended to contribute to Azerbaijan's Individual Partnership Action Plan. They involve three-day staff exercises and five-day field exercises, focusing on multinational peacekeeping operations.

    Countries attending the exercises as participants or observers include the United States, Bulgaria, Georgia, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Kazakhstan, Poland, Russia, Romania, Turkey and Ukraine.

    Soldiers from Azerbaijan serve alongside Turkish troops in the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan.

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