Iraqi Kurdish leader meets Iraqi opposition in Syria
An Iraqi Kurdish leader has held talks in Damascus with representatives of other Iraqi opposition movements, an official from the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) said on Wednesday.
Burham Ahmad Saleh, visiting the Syrian capital at the head of a PUK delegation, informed representatives from Iraqi Shiite, nationalist, communist and fellow Kurdish groups of the PUK position on Washington’s plans to strike Baghdad.
"We do not want to replace one dictator with another," Saleh said in the meeting Tuesday, quoted by Adel Murad, the PUK official in charge of Middle East relations, AFP said.
The views were "very close" regarding "the nature of the future Iraqi regime, which must be elected, democratic and pluralist." However, the opposition groups were "opposed" to the US war plans, Murad said.
The PUK team, which has met Vice President Abdel Halim Khaddam since it arrived last Friday, is trying to assure Syria, which has its own Kurdish minority, that it has no designs to create an independent Kurdish state if Washington overthrows Saddam.
In addition, it is to hold talks with Economy Minister Ghassan Rifai and the head of Syria's chambers of commerce, Rateb Shallah, in an effort to strengthen trade and economic relations of cooperation.
Meanwhile, Murad told the news agency on Tuesday that Iraqi authorities had for the past month been allowing Syrian traders to travel to Iraqi Kurdistan.
The PUK jointly controls northern Iraq with the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP), while the Kurdish region has been largely off-limits to the Baghdad government since the 1991 Gulf War. (Albawaba.com)
© 2002 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)