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Rice visits Turkey on PKK, Iran's Nuclear Issue
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US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice arrived in Ankara on Tuesday for a two-day visit to Turkey with cooperation on fighting an outlawed Kurdish rebel group and Iran's nuclear issue top on the agenda, semi-official Anatolia news agency reported.

Received by Turkish President Ahmet Necdet Sezer and Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Rice was expected to hold talks with Turkish officials over Turkish demands for closer cooperation against the outlawed Kurdish Workers' Party (PKK)based in northern Iraq and Iran's disputed nuclear issue.

"The principal context in which we have to deal with the PKK problem at this point is to make certain that there is a stable security situation in the north (of Iraq) and to enlist the new Iraqi government to work with the Turks and with the United States in dealing with the PKK," Rice was quoted by Anatolia news agency as saying.

"We want to do it in a way that does not cause greater instability in the north (of Iraq)," Rice said.

Turkey wants the United States to take more steps against the PKK bases in Iraq as the rebels stepped up attacks in the region.

Rice's visit comes amid increasing Turkish troop deployment near the border with Iraq and Iran and reports saying that the Turkish military is preparing for a cross-border operation into Iraq to strike PKK bases.

As for the Iranian nuclear dispute, Rice responded to a statement by Iran's supreme leader that Tehran was prepared to share its nuclear technology with other countries. "We have to be concerned when there are statements from Iran that Iran would not only have this technology, but would share it, share technology and expertise," Rice told a news conference in Ankara.

Rice said that Turks are supporting the UN Security Council action and they are sending a similar message to the Iranians. "We see Turkey, as having a strong anchor in democracy, a strong anchor in European traditions, but also having a great deal to say to the future of the Middle East and to be a part of that future as well," she emphasized.

Turkey, who opposes an extensive economic boycott or a military operation against Iran, favored a diplomatic solution to Iran's nuclear crisis.

Rice is currently on a European tour. She will wrap up her visit in Ankara on Wednesday morning and head to Bulgaria for a meeting of NATO foreign ministers.

(Xinhua News Agency April 26, 2006)

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