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Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release July 26, 1996


Iraq and Operation Provide Comfort

The United States supports the independence, unity, and territorial integrity of Iraq. The United States supports all relevant United Nations Security Council resolutions on Iraq, including UN Security Council Resolution 688, which was adopted on April 5, 1991.

The U.S. will not support an independent status for northern Iraq. It is the U.S. view that the best future for the peoples of northern Iraq is within a free Iraq unified within its present borders.

All our activities, including the Coalition effort known as Operation Provide Comfort, are fully consistent with these principles.

We know that all peoples living in northern Iraq are facing problems and are targets of repression, including the Arabs, the Assyrians, the Kurds, the Turkomans, and others. All these people benefit from the protection of Operation Provide Comfort.

Activities of both governmental and non-governmental organizations operating in the area under the UN umbrella should not have an objective other than promoting the well-being of Iraqi citizens.

It is U.S. policy that Iraq should comply with its obligations under UNSC resolutions.

Heads of State and Government at both the G-7 Summit in Lyon June 27 and at the Sharm al-Sheikh Summit of March 13, which was attended by Turkish President Suleyman Demirel, reaffirmed their nations' commitment to cooperate in the fight against terrorism. The U.S. supports Turkey's efforts to deal with the threat posed by the Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) terror. Northern Iraq should not serve as a sanctuary for PKK activities, nor should the PKK receive support from any quarter. The U.S. will continue to cooperate with Turkey, the OPC Coalition partners, and others, including relevant international organizations to that effect. The U.S. will urge the peoples of northern Iraq to take all appropriate measures to deny the PKK opportunities to exploit northern Iraq for its own purposes.

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