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Ankara talks PKK with KRG

ERBIL, Iraq, Dec. 22 (UPI) -- The Kurdish region of Iraq cannot be used by any third party to wage a campaign against a neighboring country, the prime minister of Iraqi Kurdistan said.

U.S., Turkish and Iraqi officials met for a trilateral meeting in Baghdad during the weekend to discuss the so-called Kurdish question.

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Ankara is considering a series of democratic initiatives meant to end years of simmering conflict with the Kurdish ethnic minority. Iraq as part of that effort aims to close a refugee camp housing militants with the Kurdistan Workers' Party, or PKK.

Turkish Interior Minister Besir Atalay met with Barham Salih, the prime minister of the Kurdistan Regional Government, in Erbil to discuss the Kurdish issue.

Atalay, the KRG said, noted Ankara was committed to security in Iraq. Salih, for his part, said the Turkish visit was an important indication of the bilateral will to improve regional relations.

The Kurdish premier stressed that his government would not allow northern Iraq to be used by "any movement" to harass its neighbors.

"Bombardments of border areas only harm the people and do not resolve any problems," he added.

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The PKK had used northern Iraq as a staging point for attacks on Turkey. U.S. military officials had shared intelligence information with Ankara on PKK activity in Iraq.

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