Kurdish PM in Tehran over separatist row

Aug. 11, 2008 at 5:40 PM
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TEHRAN, Aug. 11 (UPI) -- The Kurdish premier and his top officials arrived in Tehran Monday at the request of Iranian leaders to discuss trade and militants' activities in the region.

"Tehran-Kurdistan relations will be the focal point of talks between the two sides as well as calls on Iranian businessmen to invest in Kurdistan and means to reach a solution to pending issues," said Falah Mustafa, the top foreign affairs official with the Kurdistan Regional Government.

Both sides are expected to raise the issue of the separatist Kurdistan Workers' Party, or PKK, and its sister organization, Party of Free Life of Kurdistan, or PJAK, the Kurdish Peyamner news agency reported.

Kurdish lawmakers accuse Tehran and Ankara of ordering attacks on PKK and PJAK strongholds in northern Iraq as a means to prevent the emergence of a Kurdish state. For their part, Iran and Turkey say the separatist movements could spark a larger regional conflict.

Europe last week called on Iran to halt the shelling of militants' outposts in northern Iraq, saying the action was a violation of Kurdish human rights.

Kurdish Prime Minister Nechirvan Barzani and his delegation will meet with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and his top officials during the three-day visit.

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