Monday, January 12, 2004

Iraqi Kurds scorn US autonomy offer: "Kurds in Iraq have rejected a US-backed plan for very limited autonomy in the north of the country, which has enjoyed a status close to independence for more than a decade. "It gave us even less than Saddam Hussein offered us in the past," a Kurdish leader said yesterday... The Kurds have said they are willing to turn over control of foreign policy, defence, fiscal policy and natural resources to a central government. But in practice they will retain most of the powers they won a dozen years ago when Saddam Hussein withdrew his armies from Kurdistan. The Kurdish leaders are conscious that they are in a very strong position... The Kurds will not declare independence because they know that this would precipitate an invasion by Turkey and also be fiercely opposed by Iran and Syria."

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