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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Kurdish Rebels to Announce Ceasefire

By VOA News
22 October 2007

Rebels with the Kurdistan Workers Party, or PKK, in northern Iraq are expected to announce a ceasefire later Monday. The office of Iraqi president Jalal Talabani said the announcement is expected Monday night.

On Sunday, PKK rebels killed 12 Turkish soldiers and captured eight in an ambush in Turkey's Hakkari province. Turkey's military says it killed 32 rebels in a counter-offensive.

Last week, the Turkish government won parliamentary approval for possible military raids into northern Iraq to hunt for the rebels. Turkish Foreign Minister Ali Babacan said Monday that Ankara will first pursue diplomatic means to resolve the crisis.

Babacan, who is in Kuwait, is expected to discuss the issue with Iraqi officials Tuesday in Baghdad.

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan said he asked the United States to take "speedy" action in northern Iraq against Kurdish rebels blamed for deadly attacks in southeastern Turkey.

Mr. Erdogan said he raised the issue in a phone call Sunday with U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.

About two thousand Turkish protesters rallied against the PKK in Istanbul Monday and criticized Mr. Erdogan for not taking immediate military action. In northern Iraq, demonstrators urged Turkey not to carry out a cross-border raid.

In an interview with a British newspaper, Mr. Erdogan says Turkey does not need permission from anyone to defend itself.

Some information for this report was provided by AFP and AP.

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