GEORGIA SENDS PEACEKEEPERS TO IRAQ, U.S. OFFERS MILITARY AID IN REWARD

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TBILISI, November 7 (RIA Novosti) - Georgia is dispatching a reinforced peacekeeping contingent to Iraq. 300 commandos are departing for Kuwait by a U.S. warplane tomorrow. The force will reach Iraq via Kuwait in two stages, reports Georgia's Defense Ministry.

The Georgian contingent will finish rotation late next week to relieve 159 soldiers stationed in Tikrit, Baghdad and Ba'aquba since April 2004. Another fifty Georgian soldiers arrived in Afghanistan in August.

The doubled Georgian contingent will guard army bases and coalition projects outside such bases. They will have patrol duties, arrest terror suspects, and track down and confiscate terrorist arsenals.

Georgia has pledged to reinforce its Iraqi contingent to 850 before the year's end to serve in the U.S. responsibility zone.

A team of U.S. instructors is expected to Tbilisi tomorrow for preliminary work to launch another Georgian-U.S. military program at $32 million, says the ministry. To last twelve months, the program envisages six battalions drilled, total personnel up to three thousand. The 11th Vaziani and the 21st Kutaisi Brigades will be retrained on latter-date American curricula.

Turkey is drafting another Georgian-oriented program to drill 1,500 Georgian soldiers within next year. Ministerial PR have not revealed any details for now.

Georgia is active in U.S. peacekeeping efforts in gratitude for military aid. The United States allocated $64 million on Drill and Equipment program to train 2,750 soldiers within last year and this. Each Georgian soldier in Iraq has a U.S.-funded salary of 600 dollars a month-earnings unheard-of in the crisis-ridden Trans-Caucasian country.

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