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Greece urges Turkey to show restraint over N Iraq
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10:34, November 03, 2007

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Greek Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis has urged Turkey to show self-restraint and solve through diplomatic means the issue of Kurdish separatist rebels based in northern Iraq, the Athens News Agency reported on Friday.

"Respect of the sovereignty and independence of a state is an inviolable principle, and no other state can violate it," Karamanlis told a parliament meeting in Athens on Thursday.

"Greece is contributing both at the bilateral as well as at the international level for the amelioration of this dangerous situation, and we insist on a diplomatic solution to problems," he said.

He added that the Greek government understood the gravity of the problem, which concerns the wider region.

Turkey has threatened a military incursion into northern Iraq, following increasing cross-border attacks by Kurdish rebels based there.

Meanwhile, the United States has been pressing Turkey to refrain from such a campaign, which Washington fears could derail one of the few stable areas in Iraq and leave the U.S. in an awkward position.

U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, who has arrived in Turkey, said that Washington will take effective action and cooperate with Ankara against Kurdish rebels.

Turkey has massed up to 100,000 troops along the mountainous border with Iraq in preparations for a cross-border operation, approved by parliament last month, to crush about 3,000 Kurdish rebels.


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