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    Kurdish envoy says Russia could mediate with Turkey

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    Russia could mediate in the ongoing conflict between Kurdish separatists and Turkish troops on the Iraqi border, a Kurdish envoy said on Tuesday.

    MOSCOW, November 6 (RIA Novosti) - Russia could mediate in the ongoing conflict between Kurdish separatists and Turkish troops on the Iraqi border, a Kurdish envoy said on Tuesday.

    Turkey has amassed up to 150,000 troops in anticipation of a major military operation, which has been backed by parliament, against around 3,500 Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) insurgents based in Iraq.

    "Russia has a historically good relationship with the Kurds, and I believe it is quite possible for Russia to play a mediating role," Babakr Khoshavi, the representative of Iraqi Kurdistan to the Commonwealth of Independent States told a RIA Novosti news conference.

    He said Masoud Barzani, the head of the Kurdish administration in north Iraq, recently wrote a letter to the Russian leadership asking it to broker a peace settlement.

    Khoshavi warned that if Ankara decides to go ahead with its cross-border operation, the attack will be doomed, due to the extreme difficulty of accessing the PKK's bases in north Iraq.

    "Turkey has repeatedly attempted to enter the area, but those operations invariably failed," he said.

    The envoy stressed that the Kurdish administration wants the conflict to be settled through peaceful means, as a military operation would "continue for a very long time, destabilizing the entire region, not just Kurdistan but also neighboring countries."

    On Monday, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan and George W. Bush held talks in Washington, at which the U.S. leader pledged to share military intelligence with Ankara on Kurdish militants.

    The PKK, which has killed around 40 Turkish troops and civilians since late September, is considered a terrorist organization by both Turkey and the U.S.

    Prime Minister Erdogan's talks with President Bush produced a framework of cooperation measures to counter the rebels.

    The U.S. had earlier advised Turkey against a large-scale cross-border operation against Kurdish separatists.

    Speaking on Tuesday, Turkish President Abdullah Gul stressed that Ankara has no plans to occupy Iraq.

    "Our goal is to wipe out the terrorist PKK. We respect Iraq's territorial integrity and stability. The PKK threatens not only Turkey, but also stability in Iraq," he said.

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