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Iraqi Sunni Reject Calls For Shi'ite Region

Iraqi Shi'ite leader Abd al-Aziz al-Hakim (file photo) 12 August 2005 (RFE/RL) -- Sunni Arab members of the committee drafting Iraq's new constitution are rejecting calls for a Shi'ite autonomous region, days before the deadline for parliament to approve the charter.

Kamal Hamdoun, a Sunni member of the committee drafting the constitution, said today this would divide Iraq along sectarian lines.

Another Sunni member of the committee, Saleh al-Mutlaq, said there was no time for what he termed "such maneuvers."

The comments followed yesterday's call by Shi'ite leader Abd al-Aziz al-Hakim for an autonomous Shiite federal region in the south and center of the country.

The dispute threatens to delay completion of the draft constitution, which is due to be approved by the Iraqi parliament by 15 August.


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