Iraq may hand over rebels to Ankara-Turkish official

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ANKARA, Oct 24 (Reuters) Iraqi President Jalal Talabani told Turkish Foreign Minister Ali Babacan that Baghdad might agree to hand over Kurdish rebels to Ankara, a Turkish official said today.

Talabani had previously said Iraq would never hand over any Kurds to Turkey.

A senior Turkish Foreign Ministry official, speaking on condition of anonymity, also described planned talks in Ankara tomorrow between Turkish and Iraqi officials as the ''final chance'' for diplomacy, as the two countries try to avert a major Turkish military incursion to crush the rebels in northern Iraq.

Iraqi National Security Minister Shirwan al Waeli will lead a delegation to Ankara tomorrow for talks with Turkish officials on the crisis.

Talabani, himself a Kurd, confirmed he plans to attend a meeting of Iraq's neighbours in Istanbul on November 2-3, the Turkish official told reporters. US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice is also expected to attend.

Babacan, who visited Baghdad yesterday, called for military cooperation between Turkey and Iraq during his talks with Talabani, the official told reporters.

Reuters SG DB1828

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