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
Colin Powell wants Turkey to share the security burden in 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