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Iraq keen to develop bilateral relations with Turkey
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11:15, December 21, 2008

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Iraqi Vice President Tariq al-Hashimi said here Saturday that Iraq wanted to further develop bilateral relations with Turkey in every field, especially in fighting against terrorism, the semi-official Anatolia news agency reported.

Upon arrival at the Turkish capital, the vice president said the Iraqi government is willing to help Turkey in ending the cross-border attacks of the outlawed Kurdish Workers' Party (PKK) on Turkish targets, adding that the regional administration in northern Iraq was also ready to cooperate with the Turkish government.

"Iraqi Kurds are open minded in developing bilateral relations with Turkey," he said.

Stressing that the recent visit of several (Turkish) deputies to north of Iraq ended with a positive result, Hashimi said these positive developments would help in ending cross-border attacks of PKK and promote economic relations between Turkey and Iraq.

Hashimi's visit comes ahead of Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki's visit scheduled for next week, said the report, adding that Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Mahmud Zebari is also expected to visit Turkey soon.

Turkey has started to hold direct contacts with the regional administration, withdrawing its position to reject dialogue with a Kurdish city of Irbil, which authority was accused by Ankara of supporting the PKK.

The diplomatic contacts between Turkey and Iraq are expected to be intensified in the near term, said the report.

In November, officials of the United States, Turkey and Iraq agreed to form a joint committee to combat the PKK after holding three-way talks in Baghdad as part of the efforts to boost cooperation against the terrorists.

Turkey, provided with intelligence by the United States, has stepped up its campaign to crack down the PKK both inside Turkey and northern Iraq, after the terror organization increased its attacks on Turkish soldiers, as well as civilians.


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