UN's Ban "concerned" about Turkish vote on Iraq

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UNITED NATIONS, Oct 20 (Reuters) UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is ''concerned'' about the Turkish parliament's vote to authorize troops to cross into Iraq to hunt Kurdish rebels, his spokeswoman said.

Baghdad, backed by Washington, has urged Turkey to refrain from military action, saying that could destabilize the wider region, but has also told the rebel fighters of the Kurdistan Workers Party, or PKK, to leave Iraq.

''Recent attacks by the PKK inside Turkey have been rightly condemned by the international community,'' Ban's spokeswoman, Michele Montas, said in a statement yesterday.

''However, the secretary general is concerned about the decision by the parliament of Turkey enabling the armed forces to take cross border military action in Iraq against PKK targets,'' the statement said.

''The secretary general strongly urges all sides to demonstrate restraint at this delicate juncture,'' it said.

Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan called on Baghdad on Friday to shut down camps run by separatist Kurdish rebels in northern Iraq and to hand over guerrilla leaders.

The UN statement said Ban welcomed comments by a Turkish minister that Ankara was open to discussing all problems in Iraq.

''The secretary general also calls on the government of Iraq and the Kurdistan regional government to ensure that Iraq's territory is not used to mount cross border attacks,'' it said.

REUTERS RKM BST0552

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