US says unhappy with Kurdish inaction against PKK

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WASHINGTON, Oct 23 (Reuters) The United States today expressed displeasure with the Kurdish regional government's failure to rein in rebels in northern Iraq who have launched attacks against Turkey killing dozens of soldiers.

Statements condemning the PKK rebels by the Kurdish regional government were good but not enough, said David Satterfield, the US coordinator for Iraq and senior adviser to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice.

''Action is required here and it has been too long without meaningful action directed against this terrorist group,'' he told a group of reporters. ''This is not anything that the Kurdish leadership is not aware of from our own voice, we are not pleased with the lack of action undertaken against the PKK.'' Satterfield's comments came just before Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki's office in Baghdad announced that the Kurdistan Workers Party's (PKK) offices would be shuttered and efforts would be made to stop them from operating in Iraq.

Turkey's parliament has authorized military action across the northern Iraqi border despite calls for restraint by the United States and pledges by the Iraqi government to restrict the movements of the PKK separatists and to target their funding.

''We don't believe a cross border operation would serve the interests of any party, Kurdish, Iraqi or Turkish,'' Satterfield said.

Turkey has estimated there are some 3,000 PKK guerrillas based in Iraq and says that US forces could capture their leaders.

Some 40 Turkish soldiers have been killed in the past month by the group, increasing pressure on the government there to launch a strike. Iraq has argued that its forces are too busy fighting elsewhere in the country.

Rice and her British counterpart Foreign Secretary David Miliband have proposed a meeting in Istanbul next month to discuss how to stop the attacks.

Asked if the United States had recommended specific steps to the Kurdish regional government and if those included military action against the PKK, Satterfield refused to go into detail.

He instead urged the Kurds to ''constrain the ability of the PKK to operate in the Kurdish regional government territory.'' ''I'm not going to go into specifics,'' he said when pressed about a military option. He said there was a rising number of incidents of PKK attacks which ''ought to impel the Kurdish leadership to action.'' Asked if there were any reason he could offer greater hope that the situation could be resolved, Satterfield struck a pessimistic tone. ''I wish I could,'' he said.

REUTERS GL HS2225

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