SKOPJE, July 28 (Xinhua) -- A group of 100 Macedonian Army troops and some 300 members of U.S. Armed Forces will hold a joint drill in Macedonia's capital on Saturday and Sunday, Macedonian ministry of defense said Friday.
"The Dragoon Guardian 17 joint drill is an excellent opportunity for strengthening the cooperation between the Macedonian Army (ARM) and U.S. Armed Forces," Defense Minister Radmila Sekerinska said Friday in Kumanovo, northeast Macedonia, at an exercise welcome ceremony.
The U.S. Army soldiers crossed into Macedonia from Bulgaria on Friday. The U.S. soldiers will also tour a number of cities here, showcasing its armament and equipment.
According to Macedonian defense ministry, the tour begins in Skopje, Stip and Veles on Saturday and Sunday. The Krivolak exercise begins on Monday, and the last two cities the convoy will visit are Strumica and Struga on Thursday and Friday.
Sekerinska said that the two armies would practice setting up a runway for drones, which would remain for future use of the Macedonian Army.
"Other exercises will include clearing up improvised explosive devices, clean up of radiation contamination and target practices," the minister noted.
Present at the ceremony, the U.S. Ambassador to Skopje Jess Baily said that exercises like Dragoon Guardian served to connect soldiers, countries, and regions in pursuit of shared goals.
Baily said nearly 600 soldiers from Macedonia would participate in U.S.-sponsored, multinational exercises across Europe this year.
Further on, he stressed that the United States worked to see Macedonia join NATO.
The aim of the exercise is to improve the ARM interoperability with NATO standards, strengthening the ongoing partnership with the United States and demonstrating the capabilities of both armies in providing help and support for the general population.