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20 Oct, 2007 09:24

Russia backs peace between Turkey and Iraqi Kurds

Russia's UN ambassador, Vitaly Churkin, says the organisation must give a helping hand to Turkey and Iraq's Kurdish Government, and resolve the tension between them by political and not military means.

Meanwhile, the leader of Iraqi Kurdis, Massoud Barzani, says his people will defend their homeland against a possible incursion from Turkey.

He has rejected accusations his government provides cover for the PKK – a militant group based on the territory of Iraq.

Tensions escalated when the Turkish parliament authorised cross-border raids to root out militants earlier this week.

The United States has warned its NATO ally against any operations inside Iraq fearing the situation could lead to an international crisis.

The Turkish leadership, which is under heavy domestic pressure after a series of deadly PKK attacks, says it expects coalition forces to crack down on the Kurdish separatists.