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Afghanistan: Karzai Calls For Consensus As Loya Jirga Expected To Reconvene

Kabul, 3 January 2004 (RFE/RL) -- Afghan Transitional Administration Chairman Hamid Karzai today called on delegates to the country's Constitutional Loya Jirga, or grand council, to work toward consensus on the country's new constitution.

Speaking to reporters outside the presidential palace in Kabul, Karzai said progress had been made in talks during yesterday's one-day break in the Loya Jirga proceedings, which are expected to resume today. He said that "one or two other matters" remained to be discussed this morning.

The council broke down on 1 January when more than a third of the 502 delegates refused to vote on amendments to the draft charter.

Disagreements center around a clause allowing top officials to hold dual citizenship and a proposal to recognize Uzbek alongside Pashtu and Dari as an official language.

Ratification of the constitution is envisioned as clearing the way for democratic elections.

Copyright (c) 2004. RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave., N.W. Washington DC 20036.

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