Russia, U.S. to sign military cooperation, Afghan transit deals

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Russia and the U.S. will sign deals expanding bilateral military ties and on transit of military supplies via Russia to U.S. troops in Afghanistan during the U.S. president's visit to Moscow, a Kremlin aide said.

MOSCOW, July 3 (RIA Novosti) - Russia and the U.S. will sign deals expanding bilateral military ties and on transit of military supplies via Russia to U.S. troops in Afghanistan during the U.S. president's visit to Moscow, a Kremlin aide said.

The first agreement during Barack Obama's visit will reflect "the political decision on the resumption of full-scale military contacts between Russia and the United States," which had been frozen following a brief war between Russia and Georgia over South Ossetia last year, Sergei Prikhodko said on Friday.

The draft document was finalized during the recent visit of the chairman of the U.S. Joint Chiefs of Staff, Adm. Michael Mullen, to Moscow.

Russian President Dmitry Medvedev and Obama will also sign in Moscow an agreement on the transit of military and other supplies to the U.S. troops deployed in Afghanistan.

"The deal includes air and land transit, although air transit will be the priority," Sergei Prikhodko said, adding that Washington had not requested the transit of military personnel.

Russia already has bilateral transit deals with Germany, France and Spain, and has also signed an agreement with NATO in 2008 on rail transit of non-lethal supplies to Afghanistan.

The U.S.-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) has about 62,000 troops in Afghanistan under a UN mandate to give security support to the Afghan government and stop the flow of drugs from the country.

President Obama has recently pledged to increase U.S. military personnel numbers sent to the war-ravaged country.

Despite the recent deterioration of relations with U.S. and NATO, Russia continues to support the military alliance's operations in Afghanistan, and has said it shares NATO's concerns over the worsening security situation in the country.

 

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