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Iraqis fail to agree on constitution
August 16, 2005 09:12 IST
Iraq's Parliament agreed to a seven-day extension for leaders to complete a draft constitution, after politicians failed to meet a midnight deadline on Monday for agreement on the charter.
Parliament adjourned after voting to extend the deadline until August 22, acting on a request from Kurdish leaders for more time.
Shiite, Sunni and Kurdish framers of the charter had reached a tentative deal, resolving issues ranging from oil revenues to the country's name but putting off decision on the most contentious questions, including federalism, women's rights, the role of Islam and possible Kurdish autonomy.
Efforts to meet the August 15 deadline showed how determined Iraqis are to maintain political momentum under intense US pressure, but their failure to compromise was a clear sign that their sharp political divisions are far from over.
"We should not be hasty regarding the issues and the constitution should not be born crippled," President Jalal Talabani, a Kurd, said after the vote.
"We are keen to have an early constitution, but it should be completed in all of its items in a proper manner that appeals to all components of the Iraqi people so that the whole people interact with the whole constitution."
It was unclear if negotiators would reopen issues already resolved or focus only on those yet undecided.