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CEASE-FIRE TAKES HOLD IN NORTHERN IRAQ

SHARE CEASE-FIRE TAKES HOLD IN NORTHERN IRAQ

Kurdish fighters pitched tents in the rain and children played with toy guns Friday after a U.S.-brokered cease-fire to end two months of clashes took hold throughout northern Iraq.

"There were some clashes until about 9 o'clock last night (11 a.m. MDT Thursday), but the cease-fire is now fully in position," Kurdistan Democratic Party commander Roj Nuri Shuwayis told Reuters in the front-line town of Degala.There were no reports of fighting from the rest of the mountainous region. The Iraq-backed KDP and the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan had exchanged fire near Degala Thursday despite the cease-fire called the night before.

Delegations from the two sides are to meet in Turkey next week for talks chaired by senior U.S. diplomat Robert Pelletreau, the State Department said Thursday.

"Both will be represented at the table with him and with representatives of Turkey and the United Kingdom," State Department spokesman Nicholas Burns said in Washington. Britain and Turkey have helped bring the two factions together.

"This cease-fire is going on without any conditions. The conditions will be considered in the negotiations," Shuwayis said.

Jalal Talabani's PUK, which denies it has been aided by Iran, said it was committed to the truce brokered by Pelletreau this week.

"The PUK leadership is emphatic about its commitments to maintaining the cease-fire to give peace talks scheduled to begin next week every chance of success," it said in a statement.