Iraqi politician says Talabani trying to convince PKK to declare cease-fire

Iraqi politician says Talabani trying to convince PKK to declare cease-fire

In this Aug. 17, 2007 file photo, Iraq'sPresident Jalal Talabani talks to reporters in Baghdad. (Photo: AP)

June 11, 2012, Monday/ 11:47:00/ TODAY'S ZAMAN

Iraqi President Jalal Talabani has been holding negotiations with the terrorist Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) to urge the organization to declare a cease-fire, an official from Talabani's Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) said on Monday.

Azad Jindyani, a PUK spokesman, was quoted as saying on the party's website that “Talabani wants to solve the ongoing problem by no other means than peace.” “President Talabani has communicated with the PKK in terms of this cease-fire,” Jindyani added.

The official said he thinks clashes between Turkey and the PKK will have a negative influence on northern Iraq and Iraq as a whole, if they are not dealt with soon. His remarks follow statements by Turkish Deputy Prime Minister Beşir Atalay over the weekend in which he said, “There are ongoing negotiations which even include the PKK laying down arms in northern Iraq.”

Turkey has for decades been battling separatist terrorism carried out by the PKK, which in 1984 launched an armed campaign to fight for an autonomous Kurdish homeland in southeast Turkey. Turkey, which has the second-largest army in NATO, has failed to quash the PKK, which has bases in northern Iraq, despite 27 years of bitter fighting. More than 40,000 militants, soldiers and civilians have been killed in the conflict. Turkey, the US and the European Union all list the PKK as a terrorist organization.

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