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Accord may make Kurds Iraq's allies against Iran

President Saddam Hussein had signed an agreement with Kurdish rebel leader Jalal Talabani for a broader autonomy for the 2.5 million Kurds in the area, diplomas said Tuesday.

They said the agreement, signed last month, envisaged "free and democratic elections" to legislative and executive councils for the autonomous region in northern Iraq and proposed the formation of a 40,000-member Kurdish army to protect Kurdistan against Iran. The diplomats said the Iraqi government had promised to help rebuild and develop Kurdish areas destroyed by the war.

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