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Iraq rejects deal with Kurdish rebels

BAGHDAD — Iraq on Thursday rejected a key element of an accord to end a long Kurdish uprising in Turkey: offering refuge to rebel fighters in country’s north.

In March, the Kurdistan Workers Party, or PKK, announced a deal to end a nearly three-decade conflict in Turkey that has killed tens of thousands of people. The deal was reached in talks between imprisoned PKK leader Abdullah Ocalan and the Turkish government.

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The refuge offer came from Iraq’s Kurdish region, which has limited independence from the central government in Baghdad. Iraqi Kurds were part of the talks with Turkey.

In the accord, the PKK rebels agreed to a gradual retreat from Turkish territory to Iraq’s Kurdish region. On Thursday, Baghdad rejected that.

The government “does not accept the entry of armed groups to its territories that can be used to harm Iraq’s security and stability,’’ said a statement issued by the Iraqi Foreign Ministry.

The prospect of additional fighters joining the Kurdish forces in Iraq’s north could add tension to already souring relations with Baghdad. The two sides are in conflict over contested areas.

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