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Barzani criticises Turkey's fight against Kurd rebels
by Staff Writers
Ankara (AFP) Nov 5, 2011

Iraqi Kurd leader Massud Barzani said Saturday he opposes Turkey's military campaign against Kurdish rebels in northern Iraq as it will fail to permanently end the conflict.

Barzani arrived in Ankara Thursday for talks focused on Turkey's ongoing operation against the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK).

"Honestly, I disapprove of all these operations ... I don't think that one can achieve the result with the military option", Barzani told the Hurriyet newspaper.

"The fighting should happen in parliament", he told the Anatolia news agency.

The Turkish military launched an operation in northern Iraq's autonomous Kurdish region after a PKK attack last month killed 24 soldiers in the town of Cukurca near the Iraqi border, the army's biggest loss since 1993.

Clashes between the PKK and the army have escalated since the summer.

In the interview Saturday, the Kurdish leader condemned the PKK for last month's deadly attack and called on the group to cease all its military activities.

"When the PKK does that, Turkey will no longer have a pretext to pursue its military campaign", Barzani told Hurriyet.

Barzani met with Turkish President Abdullah Gul and Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu and was set to have talks with Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan later Saturday.

Erdogan has already asked Barzani's administration and Kurdish forces to play a more active role in the fight against the PKK.

Listed as a terrorist organisation by Turkey and much of the international community, the PKK took up arms for Kurdish independence in southeastern Turkey in 1984, sparking a conflict that has claimed some 45,000 lives.

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Over 1 mln people visit Iraqi Kurdistan: official
Arbil, Iraq (AFP) Nov 5, 2011 - More than one million people have visited the autonomous Kurdistan region in north Iraq -- a haven of relative stability -- in the past nine months, a tourism official said on Saturday.

"The number of tourists who visited Kurdistan during the last nine months reached 1.15 million tourists," Mawlawi Jabbar, the head of the General Committee for Tourism in the Kurdistan tourism and municipalities ministry, told AFP.

This compares to 900,000 tourists during the same period last year, he said.

"These tourists are coming from other Iraqi areas, the centre and the south," he said, and also include "foreign tourist groups that have started to arrive in the region."

More tourists are expected for the Eid al-Adha, or Feast of Sacrifice, which begins in Iraq on Sunday, Jabbar said, estimating that tourism for the year will reach 1.5 million.

While the rest of Iraq remains plagued by violence, the three-province Kurdistan region is relatively stable.

However, Kurdish rebels fighting Turkey and Iran have bases in the region. Both of those countries have carried out recent bombing campaigns against the rebels, and Turkey launched a ground incursion into Kurdistan last month.


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US general sacked over Karzai criticism
Kabul (AFP) Nov 5, 2011
A United States general in Afghanistan has been fired after accusing President Hamid Karzai and his corruption-plagued administration of being out of touch and ungrateful for American support. Major General Peter Fuller, deputy commander of NATO's mission to train and equip Afghan forces, was dismissed after making "inappropriate public comments", the NATO-led international force said late F ... read more

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