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http://www.ekathimerini.com/4dcgi/_w_articles_world_14142048_05/09/2003_33717 Turks snub 'stay away' plea Iraqi foreign minister rejects Ankara's possible troop deployment AP A Turkish army special unit that served as a peacekeeping force in Afghanistan in a file photo. The new Iraqi foreign minister yesterday rejected possible Turkish troop presence in his country. SIVAS/DUBAI (Reuters) - Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan shrugged off comments yesterday by Iraq's new foreign minister that Turkish peacekeeping troops would not be welcome in Iraq, saying Ankara would make its own decision. Iraqi Foreign Affairs Minister Hoshyar Zebari said neighboring states such as Turkey should not send troops into his country because they would pursue their own political agenda. Zebari made his remarks shortly after the United States said it would propose to the UN Security Council a resolution designed to induce countries such as Turkey to contribute troops to a multinational peacekeeping force in Iraq. Asked about a possible Turkish role in the peacekeeping force, Zebari said: "Our neighboring countries have their own political agendas, which they could bring with them to Iraq, thus causing more instability in Iraq." "The Iraqi minister's statement reflects his own opinion. We have committees working there (in Iraq) at the moment and we will make an assessment," Erdogan told reporters after a cabinet meeting in the city of Sivas, 400 kilometers (270 miles) east of Ankara. Zebari, a Kurd, also criticized Turkey's intervention in northern Kurd-dominated areas of Iraq. "There is a problem with the Turkish forces' military intervention in the northern Kurdish areas, which created many problems and complications," he said. "We hope such interventions will not take place, because they would further complicate matters." Turkey considers the mainly Kurdish north of Iraq to be an area of strategic interest. It has kept a small contingent of troops there since the 1990s, combating Turkish-Kurdish separatist rebels operating from the mountains there. Turkey is consulting with US officials and different ethnic and religious groups in Iraq on the feasibility of a Turkish peacekeeping role in that country, not in the north but probably in the central region. Washington wants Turkey, which is NATO's only Muslim member, to quickly commit troops. But Erdogan must win over a skeptical public and parliamentary deputies who in March rejected a motion to allow US troops to invade Iraq from Turkish soil. Erdogan and Turkey's powerful military establishment are known to back sending troops, on condition that the US does more to curb Turkish-Kurdish rebels, who this week called off a five-year ceasefire. [ dot_clear.gif of type image/gif removed by lists.casi.org.uk - attachments are not permitted on the CASI lists ] _______________________________________________ Sent via the discussion list of the Campaign Against Sanctions on Iraq. To unsubscribe, visit http://lists.casi.org.uk/mailman/listinfo/casi-discuss To contact the list manager, email email@example.com All postings are archived on CASI's website: http://www.casi.org.uk