SOFIA, Bulgaria (AP) _ Bulgaria will send peacekeeping troops to Iraq next month, a senior military official sad Friday.

Army Chief of Staff Gen. Nikola Kolev said an infantry unit with patrolling functions would be deployed by the end of May.

Earlier this week, the Defense Ministry said the United States had asked Bulgaria to contribute a peacekeeping force, but saw no need for the anti-chemical and anti-biological unit originally tapped to take part in the war.

Bulgaria was invited to join NATO in 2004 and is a strong supporter of the U.S.-led war on Iraq.

Denmark, the Netherlands, Spain, Poland and the Baltic states of Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia have also announced plans to send peacekeeping troops to Iraq.

Bulgarian troops have been involved in peacekeeping operations in Kosovo, Bosnia and Afghanistan.