Maliki loyal to anti-PKK deal, Kurds softening stance
Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari, a Kurd, was quoted as saying yesterday that both the Iraqi president, Jalal Talabani, and the Kurdish region's leader, Massoud Barzani, fully supported the memorandum of understanding that Maliki signed in Ankara.
"Our trip to Turkey and Iran was very positive, and we received support and promises of continuous support and of providing services," Maliki was quoted as saying by The Associated Press at a press conference on Sunday. "Iraq has turned into the center of terrorism. Iraq will only succeed through reconciliation," he said.
Last week, Maliki paid an official visits first to Ankara and then subsequently to Tehran. While in the Turkish capital, he and Erdoğan exchanged a memorandum of understanding in which the PKK, which is based on Iraqi soil, was declared a terrorist organization, with Maliki assuring Turkey that Iraq will not allow the presence of terrorist groups on its soil.
"We consider this organization an illegal organization in Iraq," Maliki was quoted by pukmedia.com -- the official Web site of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) of Iraqi President Jalal Talabani -- as reiterating on Sunday, in an apparent reference to the PKK.
"We will not let the PKK launch armed attacks against Turkey via the use of our soil," he added, noting that his government has banned activities of the PKK -- which is listed as a terrorist organization by majority of the international community -- on its soil. "Our constitution doesn't allow the presence of any armed organization which threatens the security of a neighboring country."
Maliki's comments came after a series of remarks by Kurdish officials over the past few days that the Kurdish administration in northern Iraq would consider the deal non-binding and that they refuse to brand the PKK a terrorist organization. Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari, a Kurd, was quoted as saying yesterday that both the Iraqi president, Jalal Talabani, and the Kurdish region's leader, Massoud Barzani, fully supported the memorandum of understanding that Maliki signed in Ankara.
In remarks in the Turkish press, Zebari, who accompanied Maliki on his trip to Turkey, dismissed statements by other Kurdish officials as "non-binding" and said they should be disregarded. He added that Iraqi Kurds had no objection to Maliki's statement that the Iraqis are against all terrorist organizations on their soil, including the PKK.
Yet, almost during the same hours when Maliki's remarks came in Baghdad, in Arbil, Jamal Abdullah, a spokesman for the semi-autonomous Kurdish administration in northern Iraq led by Massoud Barzani, said the regional government hasn't recognized any deal signed by the central government with neighboring countries without having their consent.
"We, as the regional Kurdistan government, had declared many times before Maliki's visit to Turkey that our policies concerning neighboring countries would not change," Abdullah was quoted as saying by pukmedia, as he stated his government's loyalty to Article 8 of the Iraqi Constitution which says: "Iraq shall observe the principles of good neighborliness, adhere to the principle of noninterference in the internal affairs of other states, endeavor to settle disputes by peaceful means, establish relations on the basis of mutual interests and reciprocity, and respect its international obligations."
We will approve the deals signed by Mr. Maliki with Turkey and Iran if these deals are not in contravention of Article 8," he added.
Abdullah's comment was the second of such statements from the Iraqi Kurds on the same issue as Kadir Aziz, a representative of Barzani, said they would not fight with the PKK. "We don't believe in the resolution of the PKK issue via fighting. We favor resolving the issue peacefully and through dialogue," Aziz added.
PKK threatens Iraq, Turkey
The PKK, on the other hand, threatened Iraq and Turkey after the two countries signed the deal to root it out from Iraqi territory. "The Iraqi government should not interfere in the conflict between us and Turkey," spokesman Abdelrahman Chadarchi told Agence France-Presse by telephone from the Kandil Mountains on the Iraq-Iran border. "If they plan to strike at the PKK politically or militarily, Iraq and Turkey will pay the price, and the crises in Iraq and Turkey will deepen," he added without further comment.
Today's Zaman Last Mod: 14 Ağustos 2007, 13:16