Iraqi council suspicious of neighbours

Iraq's newly appointed "foreign minister" has said he would not welcome peacekeeping forces from neighbouring countries such as Turkey.

    Iraq's governing council says foreign troops may have vested interests

    Foreign Affairs Minister Hoshyar Zebari told Aljazeera on Thursday this could lead to more instability in Iraq.

    He was speaking

    shortly after the United

    States said it wanted a UN Security Council 

    resolution to induce countries to

    contribute troops to an Iraqi peacekeeping force.

    But Zebari said: "Our neighbouring countries have their own

    political agendas, which they could bring with them to Iraq,

    thus causing more instability in Iraq."

    The US proposal is designed to attract countries such as

    Turkey that would prefer to send their troops under a UN

    mandate.

    Sceptical Turks

    The United States, however, will be in charge of this

    multinational force.

    Washington wants Turkey

    to quickly commit troops but Ankara must win over a sceptical

    public which opposed the US-led war on Iraq

    .

    Colin Powell wants Turkey to
    share the security burden in Iraq

    Ankara said on Wednesday it would begin technical

    discussions with the Americans on a possible

    deployment in Iraq.

    Iraq's US-appointed Governing Council has in the past

    rejected the idea of sending peacekeepers from Arab countries

    and Turkey, insinuating they had too many vested interests

    in Iraq to remain neutral.

    Zebari, a Kurd, also criticised Turkey's intervention in

    northern Kurd-dominated areas of Iraq.

    Vested interests

    "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."

    Kurdish separatists PKK rebels said this week they were

    ending a five-year ceasefire with Turkey because of its failure

    to match the truce.

    The group had fought for self-rule from

    Turkey from 1984 until the arrest of its leader Abdullah Ocalan

    in 1999.

    SOURCE: AFP


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