Envoy Calls On Iraqis To Compromise On Constitution
23 August 2005 -- The U.S. ambassador to Iraq, Zalmay Khalilzad, today urged the Iraqis to work in a "spirit of compromise" when they resume talks tomorrow on the constitution draft.
Shi'ite and Kurdish leaders agreed on a draft last night and submitted it to parliament. However, they deferred a vote to allow three days to convince Sunni Arab negotiators to accept it.
Khalilzad praised the work of the drafting committee. "There are people who want an entirely secular state, there are people who want to establish a Shari'a dominated state, and given the realities, I think where they have come out is right for Iraq at the present time," he said.
Khalilzad said "every effort needs to be made" to win Sunni Arab support.
Drafting committee chairman Humam Hammoudi today acknowledged that three days would probably be too short to win over Sunnis.
Meanwhile, the military said two Americans -- one soldier and one contractor -- and five Iraqis were killed today in a suicide attack on a joint U.S.-Iraqi coordination center in Baqubah, northeast of the capital Baghdad.
Copyright (c) 2005. RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave., N.W. Washington DC 20036. www.rferl.org
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