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Armenian Troop Rotation In Iraq Delayed

By Emil Danielyan

The departure of a second group of Armenian non-combat troops to Iraq did not take place as planned on Sunday due to “technical” problems reported by the Defense Ministry in Yerevan on Monday.

A ministry statement said the 46 servicemen, most of them doctors, demining experts and military truck drivers, will leave for Iraq later this week. They will replace another Armenian army contingent which is currently completing a six-month tour of duty as part of a Polish-led multinational division.

The delay was announced after a farewell ceremony at a military base in Yerevan which was attended by top army generals and relatives of the departing servicemen. They were due to be flown to Kuwait by a U.S. military transport plane.

The ministry statement cited U.S. Ambassador to Armenia John Evans as telling Defense Minister Serzh Sarkisian that the plane did not arrive at Yerevan’s Zvartnots airport for “purely technical reasons.” “The Armenian Defense Ministry and the American military command are currently working to organize the departure of the Armenian peacekeepers to Iraq on July 13,” the statement said.

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