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| Ander Nieuws week 12 / nieuwe oorlog 2007 |
 
 
 
U.S. acting against Kurdish rebel group

 
Associated Press
March 15, 2007
By Desmond Butler
 
The United States is dealing with Turkish complaints about Kurdish separatists operating in northern Iraq and has not ruled out military action against the rebels, the U.S. official assigned to handle the problem says.
 
Turkish officials repeatedly have accused the United States of insufficient efforts to prevent attacks into Turkey from Iraq by the PKK, which has waged a guerrilla war for autonomy since 1984 at a cost of 37,000 lives. Turkey also has threatened military incursions into Iraq against the rebels, which the United States fears would alienate Iraqi Kurds, the most pro-American ethnic group in the region.
 
"All options are on the table," he said. "The PKK is a terrorist organization and needs to be put out of business."
 
Ralston, a former Supreme Allied Commander in Europe who is to testify on U.S.-Turkish Relations in a congressional hearing Thursday, stressed the importance of resolving the deep-seated Turkish worries about the PKK. Turkey, a crucial NATO ally, provides vital support to U.S. operations in Afghanistan and Iraq through Incirlik Air Base in southern Turkey, one of the most important U.S. military assets in the region.
 
Ralston said negotiators from the United States, Turkey and Iraq are close to a deal to close a Kurdish refugee camp in northern Iraq that Turkey says is a haven for the PKK. In late January, U.S. and Iraqi forces searched the camp, known as Makhmur, and found artillery shells they believe belonged to the PKK, Ralston said.
 
"We would prefer the PKK announce they are laying down their arms and renouncing violence," Ralston said. "But on the good news side, to my knowledge there have not been major incidents since that time."
 
Officials from Turkey, Iraq and the United Nations will meet next month to resolve a few remaining issues preventing the closure of the Makhmur refugee camp. Ralston said negotiators need to agree on arrangements for repatriating refugees to Turkey and what to do about those who do not want to go.
 
2007 The Associated Press
 
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| Ander Nieuws week 12 / nieuwe oorlog 2007 |