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The world in brief: U.S. troops join allies in N. Macedonia

by Compiled by Democrat-Gazette Staff From Wire Reports | May 13, 2022 at 3:43 a.m.
Soldiers from NATO countries take part in a military exercise Thursday at the Krivolak army training polygon in North Macedonia. (AP/Boris Grdanoski)


U.S. troops join allies in N. Macedonia

KRIVOLAK, North Macedonia -- U.S. troops joined forces from Britain, France, Italy and allied countries in the region Thursday in a military exercise held in NATO's newest member, North Macedonia, aimed at displaying deployment readiness along the alliance's eastern borders.

Nearly 10,000 soldiers from 19 nations are taking part in NATO's planned "Swift Response" exercises as Russia's war in Ukraine continues for a 12th week. The exercises are being held in five locations, spanning from Norway to North Macedonia, military officials said.

"I think it's a fantastic demonstration of what we can do as an alliance and our ability to project combat power if asked to do so and how quickly we can do it," Maj. Gen. Peter Andrysiak, U.S. Army deputy commanding general for Europe and Africa, told reporters.

Over the past 10 days, about 4,600 soldiers from Albania, France, Greece, Italy, North Macedonia, Montenegro, the U.K. and the U.S. have taken part in the exercises, which have included parachute jumps at several locations around the country.

Qatar's emir, Iranians talk nuclear pact

TEHRAN, Iran -- Qatar's emir met with Iranian leaders on Thursday, offering support for efforts to revive the nuclear deal between Tehran and world powers, even as talks on the tattered accord remain deadlocked.

Qatar's ties with both Washington and Tehran allow Doha to relay viewpoints between the two.

"We believe that negotiation is the solution of the problem," the official IRNA news agency quoted visiting Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani as saying after meeting President Ebrahim Raisi. The two also discussed a range of other issues.

Raisi used the opportunity to slam Western nations, insisting that their presence is not "providing security in the region" but "harming the security." Iran sees the presence of U.S. forces in neighboring countries, on its doorstep, as a threat.

Raisi described Sheikh Tamim's one-day visit to Tehran as a turning point in relations between Iran and Qatar.

Later in the day, Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who has final say on all state matters, said during his meeting with the emir that their two nations should significantly boost their economic and political ties. But Khamenei also urged the Arab world and particularly Qatar to offer more support for the Palestinian cause in its conflict with Israel, an enemy of Iran.

The emir's visit came as the European Union's coordinator on nuclear talks, Enrique Mora, was in Iran.

Charges in store for ex-Danish official

COPENHAGEN, Denmark -- Denmark's top prosecuting authority said Thursday that it would seek to have a former defense minister's parliamentary immunity lifted so he could be charged with illegally disclosing "highly classified information."

The office of the director of public prosecutions said it would contact Denmark's parliament, the Folketing, regarding the immunity of Claus Hjort Frederiksen. He served as the country's defense minister from November 2016 to June 2019.

Details of the accusations against Hjort Frederiksen could not be given because of "the special nature of the case" that involves sensitive information, the Danish Ministry of Justice said in a statement.

Hjort Frederiksen, who has been a lawmaker in parliament since 2005 and is a senior member of Denmark's opposition Liberals, faces up to 12 years in prison if convicted of the unauthorized disclosure of highly classified information.

Danish media have speculated the case might be linked to allegations that Denmark's foreign secret service helped the United States spy on European leaders, including former German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

In a December television interview, Hjort Frederiksen spoke about a secret eavesdropping deal the United States and Denmark made in the late 1990s.

"I must risk a prison sentence. ... I have informed [Danish officials] that this agreement existed," he said.

The deal gave the Danish intelligence community "a lot of useful information" and the status of "a trusted partner" of the U.S., Hjort Frederiksen said.

Number of U.K. covid fines tops 100

LONDON -- The number of fines issued over breaches of coronavirus regulations at British government offices, including Prime Minister Boris Johnson's official residence, has expanded to more than 100, London's Metropolitan Police force said Thursday.

Johnson has admitted that he was among dozens of people who paid a police fine for attending lockdown-breaching parties and gatherings, making him the first British leader to be sanctioned for breaking the law while in office.

Revelations that Johnson and other senior officials gathered illegally in government buildings in 2020 and 2021 -- when millions in the country were told to restrict their lives to slow the spread of covid-19 -- has angered voters and triggered calls for Johnson to resign.

The police force's update doubled the number of fixed-penalty notices issued so far over the scandal that has been dubbed "partygate." Last month, the force said it had given about 50 such fines as a result of its investigation.


  photo  U.S. Black Hawk helicopters take part in the Swift Response 22 military exercise at the Krivolak army training polygon in the central part of North Macedonia, on Thursday, May 12, 2022. Hundreds of NATO soldiers have presented on Thursday airborne operations followed by parachuting, helicopters and ground activities to the top country's officials and diplomats, as allied airborne forces exercise "Swift Response 22" has entered in its final phase at the military polygon "Krivolak" in North Macedonia. The exercise, that includes about 4,600 soldiers from Albania, France, Greece, Italy, North Macedonia, Montenegro, the UK, and the U.S., was to demonstrate the NATO states' ability to deploy anywhere around the world and that it's soldiers can operate together professionally and successfully. (AP Photo/Boris Grdanoski)
 
 
  photo  British soldiers from the 16 Air Assault Brigade take part in the Swift Response 22 military exercise at the Krivolak army training polygon in the central part of North Macedonia, on Thursday, May 12, 2022. Hundreds of NATO soldiers have presented on Thursday airborne operations followed by parachuting, helicopters and ground activities to the top country's officials and diplomats, as allied airborne forces exercise "Swift Response 22" has entered in its final phase at the military polygon "Krivolak" in North Macedonia. The exercise, that includes about 4,600 soldiers from Albania, France, Greece, Italy, North Macedonia, Montenegro, the UK, and the U.S., was to demonstrate the NATO states' ability to deploy anywhere around the world and that it's soldiers can operate together professionally and successfully. (AP Photo/Boris Grdanoski)
 
 
  photo  Soldiers from NATO countries take part in the Swift Response 22 military exercise at the Krivolak army training polygon in the central part of North Macedonia, on Thursday, May 12, 2022. Hundreds of NATO soldiers have presented on Thursday airborne operations followed by parachuting, helicopters and ground activities to the top country's officials and diplomats, as allied airborne forces exercise "Swift Response 22" has entered in its final phase at the military polygon "Krivolak" in North Macedonia. The exercise, that includes about 4,600 soldiers from Albania, France, Greece, Italy, North Macedonia, Montenegro, the UK, and the U.S., was to demonstrate the NATO states' ability to deploy anywhere around the world and that it's soldiers can operate together professionally and successfully. (AP Photo/Boris Grdanoski)
 
 
  photo  British communications officers take part in the Swift Response 22 military exercise at the Krivolak army training polygon in the central part of North Macedonia, on Thursday, May 12, 2022. Hundreds of NATO soldiers have presented on Thursday airborne operations followed by parachuting, helicopters and ground activities to the top country's officials and diplomats, as allied airborne forces exercise "Swift Response 22" has entered in its final phase at the military polygon "Krivolak" in North Macedonia. The exercise, that includes about 4,600 soldiers from Albania, France, Greece, Italy, North Macedonia, Montenegro, the UK, and the U.S., was to demonstrate the NATO states' ability to deploy anywhere around the world and that it's soldiers can operate together professionally and successfully. (AP Photo/Boris Grdanoski)
 
 
  photo  Soldiers from NATO countries take part in the Swift Response 22 military exercise at the Krivolak army training polygon in the central part of North Macedonia, on Thursday, May 12, 2022. Hundreds of NATO soldiers have presented on Thursday airborne operations followed by parachuting, helicopters and ground activities to the top country's officials and diplomats, as allied airborne forces exercise "Swift Response 22" has entered in its final phase at the military polygon "Krivolak" in North Macedonia. The exercise, that includes about 4,600 soldiers from Albania, France, Greece, Italy, North Macedonia, Montenegro, the UK, and the U.S., was to demonstrate the NATO states' ability to deploy anywhere around the world and that it's soldiers can operate together professionally and successfully. (AP Photo/Boris Grdanoski)
 
 
  photo  A U.S. A-10 Thunderbolt II aircraft flies over during the Swift Response 22 military exercise at the Krivolak army training polygon in the central part of North Macedonia, on Thursday, May 12, 2022. Hundreds of NATO soldiers have presented on Thursday airborne operations followed by parachuting, helicopters and ground activities to the top country's officials and diplomats, as allied airborne forces exercise "Swift Response 22" has entered in its final phase at the military polygon "Krivolak" in North Macedonia. The exercise, that includes about 4,600 soldiers from Albania, France, Greece, Italy, North Macedonia, Montenegro, the UK, and the U.S., was to demonstrate the NATO states' ability to deploy anywhere around the world and that it's soldiers can operate together professionally and successfully. (AP Photo/Boris Grdanoski)
 
 
  photo  British soldiers from the 16 Air Assault Brigade take part in the Swift Response 22 military exercise at the Krivolak army training polygon in the central part of North Macedonia, on Thursday, May 12, 2022. Hundreds of NATO soldiers have presented on Thursday airborne operations followed by parachuting, helicopters and ground activities to the top country's officials and diplomats, as allied airborne forces exercise "Swift Response 22" has entered in its final phase at the military polygon "Krivolak" in North Macedonia. The exercise, that includes about 4,600 soldiers from Albania, France, Greece, Italy, North Macedonia, Montenegro, the UK, and the U.S., was to demonstrate the NATO states' ability to deploy anywhere around the world and that it's soldiers can operate together professionally and successfully. (AP Photo/Boris Grdanoski)
 
 
  photo  British soldiers from the 16 Air Assault Brigade stand next to a howitzer during the Swift Response 22 military exercise at the Krivolak army training polygon in the central part of North Macedonia, on Thursday, May 12, 2022. Hundreds of NATO soldiers have presented on Thursday airborne operations followed by parachuting, helicopters and ground activities to the top country's officials and diplomats, as allied airborne forces exercise "Swift Response 22" has entered in its final phase at the military polygon "Krivolak" in North Macedonia. The exercise, that includes about 4,600 soldiers from Albania, France, Greece, Italy, North Macedonia, Montenegro, the UK, and the U.S., was to demonstrate the NATO states' ability to deploy anywhere around the world and that it's soldiers can operate together professionally and successfully. (AP Photo/Boris Grdanoski)
 
 


  photo  Qatari Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani (left) talks with Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi during a joint news briefing Thursday at the Saadabad Palace in Tehran, Iran. (AP/Iranian Presidency Office)
 
 


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