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Washington denies contact with the PKK

Other News Materials 19 October 2007 13:48

( IHA ) - The US State Department spokesman Tom Casey, on Friday, denied claims that the US is "having contact" with the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK), stating that Washington considered them a terrorist organisation and would not engage with them in conversation.The US recognizes the territorial integrity of Iraq. The regional government in Kurdish areas is part of Iraq and we certainly doesn't recognize any separate country or entity outside of that Iraqi government We consider the PKK a terrorist organization, we don't engage in conversations with terrorist groups he stated in a press conference held in Washington.

We want to put the PKK out of business. General Ralston's conversations would be with Turkish government officials and Iraqi government officials. He was not engaged in a dialogue with the PKK he added.

Turkey accuses the autonomous regional Kurdish government in Iraq of tolerating and even aiding PKK militants based there, claiming the militants are enjoying free movement and logistical support there to carry out actions against Turkey.

Faced with mounting PKK attacks on Turkish targets, Ankara says its patience has run out with what it terms "US and Iraqi inaction" over the rebels.

Turkish criticism of the US increased after it recently emerged that US weapons given to Iraq had ended up in PKK hands.

Wary of fresh turmoil in Iraq, Washington has urged Turkish not to carry out any incursion.

But it has lost its leverage with Ankara because of a pending US Congressional vote on a resolution labelling the World War I events involving Ottomans against Armenians as "genocide".

There have been a number of congressmen that had indicated their support for this resolution who have now changed their view and have said they no longer support it. We've seen comments as well from Speaker Pellosi saying that she was going to consult with remaining co-sponsors to see what might or might not happen in terms of future fore-action stated Casey.

Ankara has signalled it may bar the United States from using the Incirlik air base in southern Turkey, a key facility for transporting US cargo to Iraq and Afghanistan, if the Armenian bill is adopted.

Meanwhile, a motion passed in the Turkish parliament allows the army to carry out an incursion into northern Iraq when needed.

An estimated 3.500 PKK militants are supposed to have taken shelter there.

The PKK, listed as a terrorist group by Turkey and much of the international community, has waged a bloody campaign for self-rule in Turkey's mainly Kurdish east and southeast since 1984.

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