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Iraqi diplomat: No progress in Iraq-Turkey talks

  • Story Highlights
  • Iraqi and Turkish officials report no progress in talks to curb Kurdish rebels
  • Iraqi delegation returning home after meeting to avert Turkish military incursion
  • The Turkish government wants Iraq to handle the rebels inside its territory
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BAGHDAD, Iraq (CNN) -- An Iraqi diplomat said that no progress was made in talks with Turkish officials Friday in Ankara about the Iraqi-Turkey border situation and that the Iraqi delegation planned to head back home.

Iraqi Deputy Foreign Minister Labid Abawi said he is hopeful that the two countries can settle the problem of rebels from the Kurdistan Workers' Party, or PKK, launching attacks against Turkey from northern Iraq.

"We don't want the PKK to stay inside Iraqi territory. We are against any violent actions. But we told them that the idea of Iraqis conducting military actions against the PKK is not an option." Abawi said.

"But we are ready to cooperate with the Turks to cut down their logistics and financial resources. We hope we can pressurize the PKK to leave the country."

He added, "We came here on the initiative of the Iraqi government with very good intentions to reach an agreement. This is our goal, and we will continue this effort."

A representative with Turkish Foreign Ministry also said the talks did not go well.

The official said Turkey believes the Iraqi delegation talked about the issue with a view to the long term and did not come up with concrete proposals.

The Turkish government wants Iraq to handle the rebels inside its territory and has been saying it can't wait indefinitely for Iraq to do so. The United States, which believes an offensive will make the unstable region even more volatile, is doing what it can to stop such an eventuality.

Abawi said several proposals were offered such as the immediate establishment of an Iraqi-Turkish coordination committee on the borders.

"We also told them we are ready to increase all our outposts and checkpoints on the border and to establish such points where the PKK try to cross the borders."

Abawi said the Iraqi delegation expressed regret about eight Turkish soldiers whom PKK rebels reportedly captured Sunday.

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"We will do everything that is possible, together with the [Kurdish regional government, to locate the hostages and to help return to homeland safety," he said.

"But unfortunately we did not get any responses on the Turkish side and other proposals, although the meeting was conducted in a very cordial manner. They were not satisfied with our proposals. We asked them for any suggestions, but they gave us no suggestions and no proposals. So the meeting ended this way." E-mail to a friend E-mail to a friend

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