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Sunni Leaders Meet U.S. Officials Over Iraqi Constitution

30 July 2005 -- A group of Sunni Arab leaders from Al-Fallujah met with U.S. officials today in a bid to overcome their differences on Iraq's draft constitution.

Nearly 50 Sunni leaders met with U.S. military and government officials at a U.S. Army base near Al-Fallujah. They reiterated their opposition to a federal Iraq as outlined in the draft constitution, saying it could break the country apart.

Parliament faces a 15 August deadline to approve the draft constitution. A constitutional referendum is then slated for October, with general elections due to follow in December.

However, the Sunni Arab leaders told U.S. officials today that they would take part in the referendum. Sunni support is seen as crucial to its success, but it is far from clear they would vote in favor of the document.

The process suffered a blow recently when two Sunni members of the panel drafting the constitution were assassinated in Baghdad, sparking a temporary walkout by the remaining Sunni panelists.


For more on events in Iraq, see:

Attack On British Consulate Convoy In Iraq Kills Two

"Death Toll Rises To 40 From Northern Iraq Suicide Attack"