The AFP reported that Waili said the three countries had formed a special committee to examine how best to rein in the outlawed PKK, which has launched attacks on Turkey from its hideouts in the mountains of northern Iraq.

"There will be a special committee in Baghdad to exchange information on how to stop the political, military and media activities of the PKK," he said after meeting with Turkish Interior Minister Besir Atalay and the U.S. ambassador. "Our forces have the authority and the power to close the [PKK] bases," he said in an interview with state-run television. "Our fight against terrorism is not limited to al-Qaeda, but is against all those who endanger the security of Iraq and disturb our relations with neighboring countries."

Atalay flew to Baghdad on Saturday for talks on fighting the PKK as clashes inside Turkey claimed nine lives. "We expect both the central Iraqi government and the regional administration in the north to take concrete steps" against the PKK, Turkey’s Anatolia news agency quoted Atalay as saying before his departure. The minister had also said ahead of the meeting that he hoped the three-way cooperation "will produce good results, particularly in intelligence sharing."

2 soldiers, 7 militants killed

The talks are part of three-way consultations between Turkey, Iraq and the United States initiated in November when the three formed a joint committee. Iraq’s Kurds, whom Ankara has long accused of tolerating the PKK militants on their territory and even aiding them, also joined the committee.

The meeting in Baghdad came as seven PKK militants were killed in clashes with the Turkish military in a mountainous area in Southeast Turkey, the General Staff said on its Web site. The clashes between the troops and the PKK militants occurred in Sirnak province near the border with Iraq on Friday evening.

Two soldiers and seven militants were killed and one soldier was wounded in the clashes. It said military operations were continuing in the region, where clashes have subsided this year after wide scale operations against the PKK’s bases in northern Iraq last year.

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