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No Progress Seen In Iraqi Constitutional Talks

22 August 2005 (RFE/RL) -- Iraqi political leaders meeting in Baghdad continue to debate the details of a draft constitution ahead of today's deadline, but there are no signs of any breakthroughs.

After some three hours of talks, a Kurdish member of the drafting committee, Abdul-Khaleq Zangana, said there were problems with the role of Islam and women's rights.

A Shi'ite lawmaker, Mohammed Baqir al-Bahadli, also spoke of differences over the role of Islam, including Kurdish demands that laws be considered constitutional only if they agree with the interpretations of all Islamic sects.

Shi'a want the right to apply their own interpretation to fellow Shi'a.

Al-Bahadli said a solution will be reached today only if the United States applies pressure.

Sunni Arab negotiators have complained that Shi'a and Kurds are cutting deals excluding them. Observers say that if Shi'a and Kurds are now citing major differences, prospects for a breakthrough would appear to be even bleaker.

(compiled from agency reports)

See also:

"National Assembly Amends Transitional Law, Extending Drafting Period"

"Shi'a Religious Parties Press For Islamic Values"

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