AIRCRAFT OF RUSSIA'S MINISTRY FOR EMERGENCY SITUATIONS TO DELIVER HUMANITARIAN AID TO BAGHDAD

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Moscow, December 25 (RIA Novosti) - Two planes of the Russian Ministry for Emergency Situations will take off the Ramenskoye airfield (Moscow Region) today to deliver humanitarian aid to Baghdad residents.

"Under the resolution of the Russian government, aid will be delivered by four transport planes. Two of them will fly this Saturday and the other two on Tuesday, Viktor Beltsov, public relations adviser to the Russian minister for emergency situations told RIA Novosti.

According to him, the Ministry for Emergency Situations intends to deliver to Iraq 200 10- and 30-seat tents, 6,000 blankets, 350 heaters, 1,500 lamps, 23.5 tons of medicines, medical equipment and disinfectants, and also Russian-language books for the library of Baghdad University. Cargoes will have a total weight of over 100 tons.

The same aircraft will bring a Russian delegation to Iraq. The delegation will include chairman of the Federation Council committee for international affairs Mikhail Margelov, some other members of the upper chamber of the Russian parliament, and also representatives of Lukoil oil company and personnel of Russia's Foreign Ministry and Ministry for Emergency Situations.

The Russian parliamentarians are expected to meet with their Iraqi colleagues in Baghdad while Lukoil representatives will meet with Iraqi oil specialists.

Earlier, director of the ministry's department for international activity Yuri Brazhnikov told RIA Novosti that the Russian government had decided on aid provision the other day, after a request from the Iraqi Health Ministry.

"The cargoes will be transferred to representatives of the Iraqi Health Ministry in the airport of Baghdad. After that, humanitarian aid will be distributed among Iraqi residents who have been left without housing and property as a result of combat operations. Considering the approaching cold period, the delivery of this aid will be quite timely," Brazhnikov said.

In his turn, director of the St. Petersburg center for modern literature and books Dmitry Karalis said in an interview with RIA Novosti that the center had collected over 5,000 books as a gift for the library of Baghdad University. The collection will include Russian classics books, dictionaries, textbooks and methodological aids. Most publications have come from the libraries of St. Petersburg, including the Russian National Library, the Mining University library and the library of St. Petersburg State University. Also, a considerable part of the books has been provided by St. Petersburg residents.

According to Karalis, the center for modern literature and books is ready to continue its action for the restoration of Baghdad University's Russian library collection, which numbered about 15,000 books and was damaged during the bombings of Iraq.

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