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    "Iraqi Kurd gov't determined to end attacks on Turkey"

    Hurriyet English with wires
    22.05.2008 - 11:00 | Son Güncelleme:

    The Kurdish regional administration was determined to prevent the area from being used in attacks against Turkey, the prime minister of the autonomous Kurdish government in northern Iraq, Nechirvan Barzani said on Thursday.

    The Kurdish regional government in northern Iraq would continue to take measures against the PKK, Barzani told the Anatolian Agency at the U.S. Congress in Washington.          

    He said they attached great importance to their meeting with Turkish officials on May 1 and expressed their hope that relations would continue.

    A Turkish delegation on May 1 met Iraqi President Jalal Talabani and Nechirvan Barzani to handle issues that caused tension in relations recently.

    Ankara accuses Iraqi Kurds of harboring and aiding the outlawed separatist PKK, whose militants use bases in the mountains of northern Iraq to launch attacks across the border.

    "Turkey's demand --asking our territory not to be used against Turkey-- is a just and righteous one," Barzani said.

    He said the Kurdish regional administration expected the Kirkuk issue to be resolved in line with the referendum on the related article in the Iraqi constitution and for the U.N. to make new suggestions on the issue.

    The referendum on Kirkuk, which was opposed by Turkey and was scheduled to take place on December 2007 according to Iraqi constitution, was postponed for six months with a proposal by the U.N..

    "The important thing is seeing progress in the region. The timing of the referendum is not a big issue," Barzani added.

    The province of Kirkuk, 250 kms (155 miles) northeast of Baghdad, is home to Kurds, Arabs, Turkmen and Assyrians, and is one of the most heated topics on the Iraqi political scene.

    The province is waiting for the establishment of procedures to normalize the situation through implementation of Article 140 of the Iraqi constitution, returning displaced Arabs to their homes and offering 20 million dinars in compensation.

    A census will follow the referendum, during which the people of Kirkuk will decide whether to remain part of the Iraqi federal government or to join Iraq's Kurdish regional government.


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