US State Department spokesman said on Wednesday that U.S. welcomed steps by Turkey towards ultimate reconciliation between Kurdish population and Turkey.

Asked to comment on entrance of a small group of PKK members to Turkey from north of Iraq, spokesman Ian Kelly said, "I think we would see this most recent decision by the Turkish Government to allow members of the PKK to lay down their arms and reintegrate, that this would come in that category of steps that we welcome."

Speaking at a daily press briefing Kelly said, "and you know we have consistently supported Turkey's efforts to open up a dialogue with the Kurdish population, and we have welcomed some of the steps they have taken in that direction, including allowing more ? allowing the Kurdish population more cultural and linguistic rights. And we are pleased to see that the Government of Turkey is taking these kinds of concrete steps."

"You know that we consider the PKK a terrorist organization, and I think any steps that are taken to help deal with this problem, whether it's in northern Iraq or Turkey itself, of course, we would welcome it," he noted.

When asked, "in terms of Turkey's dealing with its Kurdish issue, does it mean anything in your ? dealing with your Iraq policy?, Kelly said, "our Iraq policy is separate from this issue. I mean, we support the efforts of the provincial authorities, of course, in northern Iraq to develop their own systems of governance and their own policies toward their own people. But I don't ? it is not really connecting necessarily with our policy towards Turkey. I think any steps that are taken to diminish the influence or power of a terrorist organization like the PKK, that we would welcome that."