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Saddam Invites Kurds to Make Peace with Baghdad

Posted: Sunday, July 15, 2001 at 08:51 PM CT

Assyria BAGHDAD (Reuters) - Iraqi President Saddam Hussein invited Kurdish rebel foes on Sunday to open dialogue with Baghdad, Iraqi state-run television said.

``We want any solution with as few losses as possible, when the solution is among our people,'' the television quoted Saddam as saying.

The remote mountainous enclave of northern Iraq, controlled by two rival Iraqi Kurdish groups, has been outside Baghdad's control since the end of the 1991 Gulf War to end its occupation of Kuwait.

U.S. and British jets patrol no-fly zones set up after the expulsion of Iraqi troops from Kuwait to protect Kurd dissidents in northern Iraq from attack by Baghdad forces.

The Iraqi president said Baghdad had left the northern area alone until now to allow the Kurds to deal with their own problems and that fear of intervention by Baghdad has kept the two rival Kurdish factions from harming the Kurdish people.

``We wanted our people in Kurdistan deal with the events and circumstances, good and bad in details to reach a satisfaction of their own choice,'' Saddam said, during a ceremony to award him the sash and shield of al-Jihad (holy war).

Baghdad has severed all ties with Kurds in the north, who have aligned themselves with other Iraqi opposition groups and have publicly vowed to topple the government in Baghdad.

The two sides held inconclusive talks in 1991. In 1992 the Kurds held elections for a parliament and established a regional government in which the rival Kurdistan Democratic Party and Patriotic Union of Kurdistan share power.

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The Kurdish Elections Need a Population Census
Kurdistan Democratic Party Collected Majority of Votes in the Municipal Elections


Iraq Offers Support to Kurdish PKK Guerrillas


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