On the draft Iraqi constitution
Iraq, Politics, 10/12/2005
Concerning political developments in Iraq, all Iraqi sides ( the Arab Sunnis, the Shiites and the Kurds) failed to reach an agreement to get out of the crisis of differences over the constitution, just five days before the date of the people's referendum on it.
American and Kurdish attempts continued on Monday to find an outlet for the crisis. Shiite and Kurdish leaders held talks with the representatives of the Arab Sunnis in order to eliminate the crisis and to consider their demands on introducing changes to the current formula of the constitution.
The last chance negotiations came in response to the initiative by the Kurdish leader Masoud al-Barazani. In addition to the American ambassador in Iraq, it is attended by the interim President Jalal al-Talibani and Eyad Allawi as well as the speaker of parliament Hajem al-Hosni. The Sunni groups taking part in the talks were the Islamic party, the Sunni coalition and the national dialogue council.
One official in the American embassy said that the ambassador is working with the Kurds, the Shiite, and the Arab Sunni trying to ensure a vast acceptance for the referendum on the constitution.
For his part, the UN secretary general Kofi Annan expressed his regret over the failure to reaching a consensus among the Iraqi sides. Kofi Annan warned that discrepancy and inability to reach a comprehensive settlement means more violence and places the parliament which is dominated by the Shiite and the Kurds to criticism for its role in the crisis.
The Iraqi Islamic party denied what was said on requesting the Arab Sunni to vote "yes" for the Iraqi draft constitution. It said it waits for the approval of other sides in its demand to have removed certain articles of disagreement in the constitution in the next parliament, before it decides its position towards voting in the referendum due in mid October.
The party's secretary general Tareq al-Hashimi said in an interview with al-Jazeera, it is premature to say that the party will vote positively for the constitution before formulating the article on amending the constitution in an acceptable legal way. He added he wants a legal explanation to confirm the agreement.
Al-Hashimi added that the position of the party is linked to the consent of these sides to add the article on amending the constitution.
Meantime, one official in the party Eyad al-Samera' said earlier that an agreement was reached permiting the introduction of amendments after the legislative elections in December and that according to that, the party will vote "yes" for the constitution.
The second ranking man in the Shiite Dawa ( call) party Jawad al-Maliki said that an agreement was reached by a mediation from the American embassy states to form a committee from members of the next parliament which will be elected to consider amending the constitution." He explained that a four- month grace period will be given to the committee to introduce the amendments for one time."
However, the spokesman for the Interim Iraqi President Jalal al-Talibani said that talks are continuous to specify the articles to be reconsidered in the constitution. It is expected an official statement to be issues today. He said that "there is a basic agreement to amend the constitution and they are now discussing articles they seek to amend."
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