GERMANY: AFGHAN FLIGHTS VIA RUSSIA EXCEED HUNDRED

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MOSCOW, November 10 (RIA Novosti) - German planes have made, for today, more than a hundred round-trip flights via Russia to man and equip German peacekeepers in Afghanistan. The information came from Russia's Ministry of Foreign Affairs as President Vladimir Putin signed today a federal law to ratify a relevant intergovernmental agreement. It concerns military cargo and personnel transportation via Russia due to the German Armed Forces' participation in efforts to reinstate the transitional Islamic State of Afghanistan.

The agreement has twelve clauses to determine the transit procedure for German arms, military technologies, equipment and personnel via Russia to promote international efforts to stabilise Afghanistan and raise it from the ruins, said our ministerial informant.

Signed October 9, 2003, the agreement was acting since this year's start, even before ratification, as the Parties had agreed between themselves.

German military personnel air transits need no intermediate landings in Russia. These are compulsory, however, for cargo flights to carry arsenals, and military technologies and equipment.

German aircraft are bound for the Termez airfield in Uzbekistan, from where men and cargoes are hauled to the Afghan-stationed German peacekeeping contingent, said the diplomat.

An additional protocol to the agreement, signed October 26, 2004, regulates ground transits, mainly by rail. The instrument does not require ratification, so it entered into force the instant it was signed. It is a future-oriented arrangement as no ground transports have been made for German peacekeepers yet, says the Foreign Ministry.

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