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Jailed Kurdish Rebel In Turkey Calls For Disarmament

Kurdish militant leader Abdullah Ocalan, who is jailed in Turkey, has called on his followers to take a "historic" decision to lay down their arms.

Sirri Sureyya Onder, a lawmaker from parliament's pro-Kurdish Peoples' Democratic Party (HDP), read a statement from Ocalan on live TV on February 28 that urged the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) to attend a congress on disarmament in the spring.

Onder quoted Ocalan as saying, "I invite the PKK to attend an extraordinary congress in the abandon the armed struggle."

Ocalan's call could help end the 30-year rebellion by Kurdish rebels against Turkish rule.

Onder spoke on TV alongside Deputy Prime Minister Yalcin Akdogan, who said the move towards disarmament is an important step in resolving the issue.

The Kurdish insurgency in Turkey has killed more than 40,000 people.

Some 15 million Kurds live in Turkey.

Based on reporting by AP and AFP