U.S. naval forces violated a major treaty by staging "intimidating, provocative and unapproved" military exercises in the Panama Canal, the Defense Forces said.

A communique from the Defense Forces, commanded by strongman Gen. Manuel Antonio Noreiga, said Thursday's manuevers violated the Torrijos-Carter Treaty because all U.S. and Panamanian military operations in the canal must be coordinated by both countires.The communique said nine U.S. Navy combat patrol boats "fully armed with its crew in a state of readiness" took part in morning exercises Thursday at the canal's Pacific Ocean entrance. It said the boats were escorted by two U.S. Black Hawk helicopters.