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Status Of Iraq's Draft Constitution Vote Unclear

When will the assembly vote? 25 August 2005 -- It is unclear when Iraq's National Assembly will vote on the country's new draft constitution.

AP and AFP are quoting parliamentary officials as saying today that the assembly has delayed a meeting due to be held today to vote on the draft constitution.

But government spokesman Laith Kubba has said he expects a vote before tonight's midnight deadline, or on 28 August. Kubba said some changes have been made to the wording of the draft to meet Sunni Arab approval.

Earlier today, Iraqi President Jalal Talabani said he is optimistic that consensus will be reached with Sunni Arabs over the document.

In separate developments, gunmen shot dead two of Talabani's bodyguards and wounded seven others in an attack north of Baghdad.

Also today, Iraqi police said they discovered the bodies of 36 people shot dead and dumped south of Baghdad.