Azerbaijani peacekeepers return home from Iraq

Azerbaijani peacekeepers return home from Iraq
# 07 December 2008 20:14 (UTC +04:00)
Relatives of the peacekeepers, and representatives of the country’s ministry of defense, and heads of Iraqi and US diplomatic missions welcomed the peacekeepers at Heydar Aliyev International Airport.

An end-of-mission ceremony for Azerbaijani peacekeepers was held in Camp Ripper near Al Asad, Iraq on December 3, the Multi-National Force ?Iraq Command told APA.

Representatives of Iraqi local government, parliament and society attended the ceremony.

The participants appreciated the five years of service of Azerbaijani servicemen in Iraq. Awards and keepsakes were presented to the distinguished Azerbaijani servicemen on behalf of the Coalition Forces Command.

Azerbaijani servicemen had already handed over the facilities they protected to the government forces of Iraq, said Azerbaijan’s Ministry of Defense.

On November 11, Azerbaijan’s parliament voted to withdraw the 150 troops serving as part of the U.S.-led coalition in Iraq.

Contingent of Azerbaijani Armed Forces had served in Iraq with the international coalition forces since August 15, 2003, under the decision of the parliament. Azerbaijani peacekeepers protected Al-Haditha water reservoir and hydropower plant supplying 30 percent of Iraq with electricity. Azerbaijani peacekeepers protected 15 sq. km. territory in Al-Haditha.

One Azerbaijani peacekeeper was killed in Iraq.

Some 150 servicemen ?14 officers, 16 ensigns and 120 soldiers ?served in Azerbaijani contingent in Iraq. They were rotated every six months.