Friday, June 23, 2006

Serbian Military Pilots To Be Trained in U.S.

The United States will enable Serbian pilots to get training by or in U.S. military academies, U.S. ambassador in Belgrade Michael Polt said June 23.

”U.S. forces in Europe will sponsor the training for Serbian air force officers here and in the U.S. Our air force academy is now open for your candidates and we hope that the attendance of the first Serbian pilots will be in 2007,” Polt said.

The ambassador was speaking at a meeting of U.S. pilots visiting their Serbian counterparts, the day after their two F-16 fighter jets landed for the first time at a military airbase in Serbia, seven years after similar planes took part in a NATO-led bombing campaign on the country.

Serbia’s defense ministry said the two jets had touched down at the Batajnica military airport on a “visit that is a part of the process of increasing military cooperation between Serbia and the United States.”

”During the two world wars we were on the same side and many American pilots owe their lives to their Serb allies... The U.S. is hoping for a collaboration with Serbia and we are ready to go as far as you are,” Polt said.

Serbia-U.S. relations have gradually improved following the ouster of Serbian strongman Slobodan Milosevic in 2000.

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