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Thursday 07th of March 2013 12:24:04 AM GMT

Russia ratifies Afghan transit deal with Italy

Moscow, March 7 (IANS/RIA Novosti) The upper house of the Russian parliament, the Federation Council, has ratified an agreement with Italy on the railway transit of Italian personnel, arms, ammunition and military equipment to Afghanistan via Russian territory.

The agreement was signed in the Black Sea resort of Sochi in December 2010 and approved by the lower house of parliament, the State Duma, Feb 22, 2013.

Under the deal, Russia will issue multiple or single transit permits to Italy upon request.

Russia will reserve the right to reject a transit request, or annul a previously issued permit if it believes the cargo might pose a threat to its national security.

Passenger rail cars will be assigned to transport personnel "within the shortest time possible".

Troops and cargo attendants are allowed to wear military uniforms, but carrying weapons or ammunition is prohibited.

The personnel will have to comply with Russian laws while on Russian territory.

Weapons, ammunition, equipment and military property will be exempt from Russian customs duties.

All shipping costs will be borne by the Italian side.

--IANS/RIA Novosti

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