EU troops stage battle games near Toulouse

19th October 2005, Comments 0 comments

TOULOUSE, France, Oct 19 (AFP) - European troops are this week conducting air and ground exercises in southern France simulating an international defence of an oil-rich country under attack, officials said.

TOULOUSE, France, Oct 19 (AFP) - European troops are this week conducting air and ground exercises in southern France simulating an international defence of an oil-rich country under attack, officials said.

Some 3,000 soldiers from France, Belgium and Germany are taking part in the exercise, dubbed OAPEX 2005, which will test a scenario in which the European forces are flown in, with armoured vehicles and a UN mandate, to battle a hypothetical enemy invading an oil-producing nation.

"The aim is to look at situations that already exist," a French military spokesman, Lieutenant-Colonel Jean-Luc Favre, told AFP at an air force base in Toulouse.

He did not say what country the exercise was modelled on, explaining only that it was "a country which possesses oil fields and which is attacked by another country."

"It's the first time we've done an operation on this magnitude -- multinational and inter-service (ground and air)," he said.

"The objective is to be able to command from Paris an operation that is happening 5,000 kilometres away."

A British contingent was to have participated, but received new orders to leave the Toulouse base and fly on to Pakistan, officials said.

Copyright AFP

Subject: French news

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