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Turkey, Iraq to sign agreement on fight against PKK rebels: report
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21:36, August 06, 2007

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Turkey and Iraq are expected to sign an agreement on fight against terrorism during Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki's visit to Turkey on Tuesday if the draft text is finalized, the semi-official Anatolia news agency reported on Monday.

Local diplomatic sources were quoted as saying that Turkey earlier offered Iraq to sign a cooperation agreement on fight against terrorism, adding that the two countries are debating on a draft agreement.

"We offered them (the Iraqi authorities) to sign a cooperation agreement on counter-terrorism and they welcomed this offer. The two countries are now working on a draft agreement but it is not finalized yet. There is a chance to sign the agreement during Maliki's visit if it is completed on time," the sources added.

The agreement envisages strong cooperation between Turkey and Iraq against terrorism.

Maliki is set to arrive in Ankara on Tuesday on the invitation of his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan for a one-day visit.

Maliki will be accompanied by a delegation of 30, including five cabinet members such as Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari and state minister for security and counter-terrorism coordinator Shirwan al Waili.

Security issues are expected to top the agenda of the Maliki's visit, with Turkish officials conveying once again the country's "sensitivities" and its demands on the fight against outlawed Kurdish Workers' Party (PKK).

Ankara has been asking Washington and Baghdad to take concrete steps to crack down on the PKK, listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the United States and the European Union.

The PKK has stepped up its attacks on government troops in southeastern Turkey in recent months, which had provoked Ankara to voice request to conduct a cross-border operation against the PKK strongholds in northern Iraq.

The PKK launched an armed campaign for an ethnic homeland in the mainly Kurdish southeastern Turkey in 1984, sparking decades of strife that has claimed more than 30,000 lives.

Source: Xinhua

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