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» 02.03.2011 - Libya, Chad row over "mercenaries"
» 04.10.2010 - Chad rebels fear for Sudan, CAR bases
» 18.02.2010 - Chad’s call for military withdrawal alarms UN
» 10.02.2010 - Sudan-Chad agree to end wars
» 21.01.2010 - AU welcomes Sudan and Chad peace agreement
» 20.07.2009 - Renewed clashes puts Darfur civilians at risk, AU-UN
» 12.06.2009 - Chadian released from Guantanamo Bay
» 02.06.2009 - China pledges support to Khartoum government

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Russia to boost EU airpower in Chad

afrol News, 30 September - Inspite of mounting tensions between Moscow and European Union over Georgia, Russia is preparing to provide with four helicopters along with crew, to help beef up EU's peacekeeping mission in war-torn Chad.

EU force commander, Lieutenant General Patrick Nash said negotiations about Russian choppers are "very advanced."

"I had a shopping list. But I didn't get everything I needed," Lt Gen Nash said.

It is believed that four additional Russian aircrafts expected to arrive in November would boost number of helicopters available to force by a third.

"That would add to our operational capability and effects on ground, with 3,500 troops in an area of operations size of France, you cannot have enough air assets," he added.

The operation, called EUFOR Chad/CAR, has for some time now been hampered by a shortage of helicopters, needed to reach refugees scattered over a vast area of desert.

EU foreign policy, chief Javier Solana said that while Chad mission was not dependent on Russian choppers, they would increase its range and issue showed need for EU to boost its own resources.

Talks about Russia helping meet EU's chronic shortage of helicopters in Chad got into full swing after a March meeting between Russian foreign minister Sergey Lavrov and EU foreign policy chief Mr Solana.

In Deauville, EU ministers will discuss a longer-term Anglo-French plan to upgrade Europe's helicopter fleet to allow it to operate in harsh terrain such as in Afghanistan and Chad.

France and Germany unveiled a plan last year to improve their transport helicopter capability by 2020, but have resisted an EU proposal to open up this up to other EU member states.

EU leaders are said to have recently criticised Russia's deep incursion into Georgia, after Russian troops poured into Georgia in August, following Georgian forces' attempt to reclaim breakaway region of South Ossetia.

EU observers are arriving in Georgia this week, but Russia reportedly detests their entering South Ossetia or other breakaway region it is supporting, Abkhazia.

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