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Iraq's constitution will not end violence: US

August 24, 2005 11:47 IST

A new constitution will not end all the violence in Iraq, United States Defence Secretary Donald H Rumsfeld has said, acknowledging that the continuing turbulence "has to be a heart-wrenching thing" for the families of US forces still fighting insurgents there.

"Regrettably, completing the constitution is not likely to end all the violence in Iraq or solve all the country's problems," he said.

"The process has been delayed a bit, but democracy has never been described as speedy, efficient or perfect," Rumsfeld said during a briefing yesterday. Earlier, Iraqi lawmakers delayed a vote on the draft constitution to give negotiators more time to persuade Sunni Arabs to accept it.

Rumsfeld dismissed the idea that objections from Sunnis could lead to civil war. President George W. Bush, when asked earlier about the possibility of a constitutional conflict triggering a civil war, said, "The Sunnis have got to make a choice. Do they want to live in a society that's free?"

Rumsfeld said the Pentagon expected more insurgent attacks as the country finalised its constitution and attributed the high number of deaths in a fraction of them to insurgents "becoming more sophisticated" in developing deadly explosives.

He rejected the idea that the United States has gotten bogged down in Iraq like it did in Vietnam, saying US polls show that anger toward the instability caused by insurgents is growing.

Rumsfeld said he would tell families of fallen soldiers, like anti-war protester Cindy Sheehan that their sons and daughters have contributed to the liberation of Iraqis.

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Copyright 2005 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. The information contained in the AP News report may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without the prior written authority of The Associated Press.

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