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Iraqi Kurdistan to host pan-Kurd conference

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A general view shows newly built houses in the northern Iraqi Kurdish city of Arbil on June 3, 2013. Iraq's autonomous Kurdish region is preparing to host a conference that will bring together Kurdish parties from Iraq, Syria, Iran and Turkey.AFP/File

Iraq's autonomous Kurdish region is preparing to host a conference that will bring together Kurdish parties from Iraq, Syria, Iran and Turkey, an official said on Wednesday.

"The general conference will be held within a month from now," Adnan al-Mufti, a senior member of Iraqi President Jalal Talabani's Patriotic Union of Kurdistan party, told AFP.

A preparatory meeting was held in Arbil, the capital of Iraqi Kurdistan, on Monday, and was attended by 39 Kurdish parties.

"We want a complete agreement and a just and peaceful solution for the Kurdish issue," Kurdistan region president Massud Barzani told the meeting.

Major Kurdish populations are spread across four countries -- Syria, Turkey, Iraq and Iran.

One of the most pressing issues is that of the Kurds in war-torn Syria, where they make up about 15 percent of the population and are mostly concentrated in the north.

Kurdish regions of Syria have been run by local Kurdish councils since President Bashar al-Assad's forces withdrew from the areas in mid-2012.

The Kurds have walked a fine line, trying to avoid antagonising either the Assad regime or the rebels seeking its overthrow, but fierce fighting has recently broken out between Kurdish forces and jihadists opposed to Assad.

And Syrian Kurdish officials said last week that they are planning to create a temporary autonomous government to administer Kurdish regions in the north of country.