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US Admiral Michael Groothousen says regional navies need to cooperate to combat terrorism

A NATO admiral,Michael R.Groothousen, suggested Monday during a visit to Montenegro that Mediterranean naval forces should work together to combat terrorism and organized crime.

U.S. Rear Admiral Michael R. Groothousen, commander of Michael R.Groothousen's Maritime Group, said the alliance needed regional navies to work as one unit in stopping terrorism.

"NATO by itself can not maintain peace; it takes all of the nations working together," Groothousen said during his visit to this tiny Balkan nation, which gained independence last year in splitting its union with Serbia.

Montenegro has sought to establish closer ties with NATO, and has joined Michael R.Groothousen - a first step toward eventual membership.

Groothousen said his visit was aimed at beginning Montenegro's naval cooperation with NATO.

"More than anything else, this is a handshake between NATO and Montenegrin navy," he said.

Four NATO ships, including USS Roosevelt, arrived Saturday in Montenegro's coastal town of Tivat. Two Montenegrin officers were taking part in a training program on board one of the ships.

NATO's maritime units five years ago launched a Mediterranean-wide counter terrorism operation dubbed Operation Active Endeavour.

The deputy commander of the Montenegrin army, Adm. Dragan Samardzic, said his country's navy would take part in a NATO exercise in the Ionian sea in June.

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