Rival Kurdish groups pledge to work together

Xxxx Xxxxx Xxxxxx xxxxxxxx at xxxxxxxxxxx.xxx
Thu Feb 1 00:12:49 MST 2001


http://nav.arabia.com/article/0%2C1690%2CNews|13500%2C00.html

Rival Kurdish groups pledge to work together

 Two rival Kurdish groups the United States is hoping will unite in
northern
 Iraq to oppose President Saddam Hussein pledged last week to work
 together.

February 15, 2000, 08:25 AM

WASHINGTON (AFP English) - Two rival Kurdish groups the United States is
hoping will unite in northern Iraq to oppose President Saddam Hussein
 pledged last week to work together, the State Department said  Monday.

 Spokesman James Rubin said the pledges by Jalal Talabani, leader of the
Patriotic
 Union of Kurdistan (PUK), and Massud Barzani, of the Kurdistan
Democratic Party (KDP),  were made during a February 8 to 12 visit to
the region by US officials.

 "The two parties recommitted themselves to reconciliation in accordance
with the
 Washington agreement and the Ankara accords," Rubin said, referring to
earlier
 cooperation pacts.

 Rubin said the working-level visit to Iraqi Kurdistan by officials from
Washington and the  US embassy in Ankara had been intended to "advance
the reconciliation process  between the two Kurdish parties there and to
assess the humanitarian situation." "They  agreed to work quickly, as
quickly as possible, toward full implementation of the Washington
agreement, including an end to terrorism and other steps that will help
the  people of the region," Rubin said.

 The PUK and KDP, which control northern Iraq outside of Saddam's reach
under a US  security umbrella, have long been at each other's throats.
Fighting between them cost  more than 3,000 lives between 1994 and 1999.

 But the United States has been trying to bring the two sides together
in n an effort to spur  internal opposition to Saddam, and the US
Congress has approved nearly 100 million  dollar in assistance to the
disparate groups.

 Despite the funding and previous agreements reached, the reconciliation
process
 between the PUK and KDP has moved haltingly, with both sides
complaining that the  other is not living up to the accords.

 In a February 5 interview with AFP, Talabani charged that the United
States was "not  serious" in its support for the Iraqi opposition and
said Washington's anti-Saddam policy  was "doomed to fail because it is
not focused on the forces of change inside Iraq." He  acknowledged that
US mediation had so far failed to resolve their dispute with the KDP,
but nevertheless called for "the formation of a unified government and
the holding of free  elections."

--
Xxxx Xxxxx Xxxxxx
Ph.D Student
Department of Political Science
SUNY at Albany
Nelson A. Rockefeller College
135 Western Ave.; Milne 102
Albany, NY 12222



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