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Baltic States ready to spend more on NATO air police

RIA Novosti

29/05/2007 16:51 VILNIUS, May 29 (RIA Novosti) - The Baltic States are ready to boost spending on the maintenance of a NATO 'air police' mission in the region, the countries' defense ministries said Tuesday.

Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia said in a joint statement that from 2009, they will cover the personnel costs, and by 2010 will provide assistance in airlifting manpower and equipment.

The Baltic States have virtually no fighter air force. They said earlier that they would be unable to acquire their own fighters before 2018.

Presently the Baltic skies are secured by what is known as the NATO air police.

The Baltic States' airspace has been protected since 2004 by NATO member countries (Belgium, Netherlands, Germany, UK, Norway, Denmark, Turkey, Poland, U.S., Spain) on a rotation basis, providing fighters, air defense equipment, and manpower.

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