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Medvedev signs Afghan transit deal with France into law

RIA Novosti

15:36 27/12/2010

MOSCOW, December 27 (RIA Novosti) - President Dmitry Medvedev has signed a law on the ratification of a Russian-French intergovernmental agreement on the transit of military equipment and personnel from Afghanistan via Russia, the Kremlin said on Monday.

Under the agreement, aircraft with French weapons and military equipment on board flying through Russian airspace are to make a mandatory stopover landing on Russian territory. Personnel transit through Russian airspace may proceed without a landing.

In mid-November, the Russian government approved an agreement with NATO allowing the alliance to carry supplies to and from Afghanistan via Russian territory.

The new deal on the so-called reverse transit allows NATO to ship armored vehicles and other equipment from Afghanistan back to Europe by the same route through Central Asia and Russia.

The bloc already uses routes through Russia and neighboring Central Asian states but current arrangements allow only for the transport of non-lethal supplies such as food and fuel.

NATO has pledged to hand over responsibility for security in Afghanistan to Afghans by the end of 2014, but also vowed not to leave the country to face the Taliban threat alone.

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