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Iraq, Turkey sign pact

BAGHDAD, July 11 (UPI) -- The prime ministers of Turkey and Iraq signed an agreement Thursday on border security and trade relations.

Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan met with Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki as he began a two-day visit to Baghdad, CNN reported. The agreement they signed creates a "high-level strategic cooperation council" aimed at building a "long-term strategic partnership."

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The agreement did not mention by name the group that has aggravated the relationship between the two neighbors, the PKK or Kurdistan Workers Party. Turkey has accused Iraqi Kurds of sheltering PKK fighters and has launched military actions across the border.

The two countries promised to respect the border and each other's territory and to cooperate on counter-terrorism efforts. The declaration calls for joint efforts to "prevent the transit of terrorists and illegal arms to and from Iraq and emphasizing the importance of strengthening cooperation between Iraq and Turkey to control their common borders and prevent all kinds of illicit trafficking."

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