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Georgia To Boost Iraq Contingent In October

6 September 2004 -- Georgia says it will double its military contingent in Iraq next month.

Defense Minister Giorgi Baramidze made the announcement as he visited the 157-strong Georgian contingent at a U.S. military camp near Baquba, northeast of Baghdad.

Baramidze said a battalion of 300 soldiers will be deployed in October when the current force is due to return home.

Baramidze said Georgia is seeking NATO membership, "so we want to prove that we are there."

The new deployment plan is still short of the 550 troops initially pledged by Georgia four months ago.