Asia Crisis

Georgia to bring home entire Iraq contingent

(Adds detail, quotes, U.S. comment)

BAGHDAD, Aug 9 (Reuters) - Georgia will bring its entire Iraq contingent of 2,000 soldiers home as soon as the United States can provide transport, the commander of the unit said on Saturday.

"The full brigade will go home from Iraq. We are waiting for the U.S. side. They are providing us with transportation," Colonel Bondo Maisuradze told Reuters.

He said his men were closely following reports of hostilities over the separatist enclave of South Ossetia and were anxious to return.

"They all watch TV, so they want to get home as soon as possible, to help our guys to defend ourselves from the bad guys," he said.

The U.S. military praised the contribution of Georgian forces, one of the largest non-U.S. contingents in Iraq, mainly deployed in Wasit province near the Iranian border.

"Georgian forces have played a key role partnering with the Iraqi Security Forces to allow the Iraqi people a chance to rebuild their lives and return to normalcy. We greatly appreciate the sacrifice and commitment of the Georgian forces and their government in support of the coalition and the Iraqi people," the U.S. military said in a statement.