Iraqi Kurd leader Barzani in Turkey for security talks

2nd June 2010, Comments 0 comments

Iraqi Kurd leader Massud Barzani arrived in Turkey Wednesday on a five-day official visit, just days after Turkish Kurdish rebels killed six soldiers in a rocket attack on a naval base.

On his first visit to Turkey as regional president, Barzani, who heads northern Iraq's autonomous Kurdistan region, is to hold talks with Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu.

They are to discuss security issues, Turkey's Anatolia news agency reported. Other items on the agenda are trade between Turkey and the Kurdish region, and Baghdad-Ankara relations, Iraqi Kurdish authorities said in a statement.

Barzani will also meet with Turkish President Abdullah Gul.

The president of Iraqi Kurdistan will travel on from Turkey to France for talks with President Nicolas Sarkozy and Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner.

Barzani last visited Turkey in April 2004, when he held the rotating presidency of the now defunct Iraqi Governing Council.

Wednesday's trip comes after separatists from the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) based in Iraqi Kurdistan fired rockets at a Turkish naval base on Monday, killing six soldiers and wounding seven others.

The PKK, listed as a terrorist group by Turkey and much of the international community, took up arms in 1984 for self-rule in Turkey's Kurdish-majority southeast, sparking a conflict that has cost about 45,000 lives.

© 2010 AFP

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