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Iraqi Kurds in Peace Talks

January 09, 1999| Reuters

ANKARA, Turkey — The leaders of two rival Iraqi Kurdish groups who control northern Iraq in opposition to Baghdad held peace talks Friday. It was the first time they had met inside the mountainous enclave in four years.

Jalal Talabani, chief of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan, or PUK, met former enemy Massoud Barzani of the Kurdistan Democratic Party, or KDP, in Barzani's hilltop stronghold of Salahuddin, a KDP official there said.

Kurdish-run northern Iraq, protected by a U.S.-led "no-fly" zone, has been outside Baghdad's control since the 1991 Persian Gulf War. A power-sharing deal between the two Iraqi Kurdish groups broke down in 1994, leading to intermittent armed clashes that were only brought to an end with a Washington-sponsored peace agreement signed last September.

"They are due to discuss progress in the peace agreement," KDP spokesman Dilshad Miran said.

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