Iraqi Kurdish leader pledges to push PKK

Iraqi Kurdish leader pledges to push PKK

Iraqi Kurdish leader pledges to push PKK

Masoud Barzani promises to increase pressure on the outlawed PKK. Hürriyet photo

Northern Iraq will exercise maximum pressure to stop the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) from staging military attacks against Turkey, the territory’s leader has said following talks with the militant group.

“We are in contact and will exercise maximum pressure on the PKK to stop their military operations because this is playing with the fate of the Kurdish people,” said Masoud Barzani. “Now is not the time for military operations. One can fight for a cause in peaceful and democratic ways, this is the solution.”
Barzani said his government could consider sending local Kurdish peshmerga forces to the region’s borders with Iran if the situation deteriorated further.

Meanwhile, U.S. Vice President Joe Biden was scheduled to arrive in Ankara late yesterday to meet with Turkish leaders for talks on the situation in Syria and Turkey’s fight against the PKK. Meanwhile, northern Iraq will go forward with its exploration deal with U.S. oil major Exxon Mobil despite objections by the central government in Baghdad, Barzani said Nov. 30.

“We are committed to the deal and we will execute it regardless of what officials in Baghdad say is against the constitution,” Barzani said.

Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki was told of the deal prior to its signing and had no objection, Barzani said, adding that Baghdad’s opposition was unconstitutional. “The contract is not unconstitutional. Yes, we have signed with Exxon Mobil according to the constitution, the objection we have heard from some officials is what is unconstitutional,” Barzani said.

The Iraqi Oil Ministry said the deal was illegal and could result in termination of Exxon’s contract to develop the major West Qurna Phase One oilfield in the south. Officials later said they were considering sanctions.

Meanwhile, attacks in Iraq’s mixed Diyala province, north of Baghdad, killed 18 people yesterday, medical and security officials said. “We counted 10 bodies and at least 20 wounded in the explosion of a car bomb parked near a vegetable market in Khalis,” an Iraqi army colonel said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

In a separate attack, gunmen using silencers raided three homes in the Diyala village of Jil al-Said, south of Baquba, killing eight people, among them two commanders of an anti-Qaeda militia and members of their families, the army colonel said.

The PKK is listed as a terrorist organization by Turkey, the United States and the European Union.

Compiled from Reuters and AFP stories by the Daily News staff.