Friday, March 09, 2007

Georgia will more than double Iraq force of 850

Georgian soldiers in Iraq.

TBILISI, March 9 (Reuters) - Ex-Soviet Georgia plans to more than double the size of its 850-strong peacekeeping unit serving alongside U.S.-led forces in Iraq, the country's president said on Friday.

"We are ready to increase our presence in Baghdad up to 2,000, to help restore order in Baghdad and it should last for about a year," President Mikhail Saakashvili told Georgian television during a visit to Japan.

Last weekend Saakashvili announced plans to send more troops to help U.S. and Iraqi forces rein in sectarian violence but he did not give troop numbers.

Saakashvili has positioned his republic of five million people as a close U.S. ally. He is seeking membership of NATO and, eventually, the European Union.

The president also said he was committed to sending troops to Afghanistan.

Read the rest at Reuters/Alternet