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US welcomes Iraq's draft constitution

August 23, 2005 10:04 IST

The United States has commended Iraq's draft constitution, with both the White House and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice welcoming the 'consensus' reached by Iraq's political leaders on the issue though a 'few issues' remained.

In a statement the White House said it welcomed the development as "another step forward in Iraq's constitutional process".

"The progress made over the past week has been impressive, with consensus reached on most provisions through debate, dialogue, and compromise. This is the essence of democracy, which is difficult and often slow, but leads to durable agreements, brokered by representatives that reflect the interests and values of free people," the statement said.

It added that the United States pledged its "full support as the Iraqis work to complete their democratic transition".

The State Department also welcomed the submission of the draft, with Secretary Condoleezza Rice applauding the move.

"I congratulate the Iraqi people and their leaders on the submission of a draft Constitution to Iraq's Transitional National Assembly," Rice said in her statement.

She also commended the lawmakers for putting off the vote on the draft in a bid for more time to win over the Sunnis, whose support is crucial to ending the insurgency in that country.

"In a statesmanlike decision, the men and women of the assembly have decided to use the next three days to continue reaching out to build the broadest national consensus for Iraq's new Constitution. Step by step, the Iraqi people are charting their own path toward a shared future of freedom," she said.

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