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Turkmenistan: Turkmen Representatives Refuse Talks On Iraq

Ankara, 15 November 1996 (RFE/RL) - Ethnic Turkmen representatives are refusing to participate in talks today in Ankara on the situation in northern Iraq. Turkey, Britian and the United States are sponsoring the talks.

Rival Kurdish groups last month agreed to a ceasefire. But, because of a dispute with the Iraqi-backed Kurdish group, ethnic Turkmen also tell RFE/RL that they will not participate in a cease-fire monitoring plan. Differences are reported to exist over control of the city of Irbil, and the sharing of oil revenues.

Ethnic groups in northern Iraq had agreed to establish a local administration, and ethnic Turkmen were to be represented in this administration. The U.S. and Turkey urged formation of the local administration in order to limit the influence of Iraq's President Saddam Hussein in northern Iraq.

Ethnic Turkmen are Iraq's third-largest ethnic group after the Kurds.