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Sunni Says No Agreement on Constitution

Sunni Says No Agreement on Constitution

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BAGHDAD, Iraq (AP) -- A top Sunni Arab negotiator said Saturday that no agreement has been reached on the draft constitution and called on Iraqis to reject it in an Oct. 15 referendum. A government spokesman indicated talks were hopelessly deadlocked and said "this is the end of the road."

The Sunni negotiator, Saleh al-Mutlaq, made the statement on Al-Jazeera television after Sunnis studied compromise proposals offered by the Shiites on federalism and purges of former members of Saddam Hussein's Baath Party.

"The issue of division through federalism is on the table," al-Mutlaq said. "The Iraqi people have to give their word now and reject the constitution because this constitution is the beginning of the division of the country and the beginning of creating disturbance in the country."

Asked about Shiite offers, he replied: "We are still far from what we need and what the people need."

A Shiite negotiator, Khaled al-Attiyah, said a "consensus" had been reached on the charter and an amended version would be sent to parliament Saturday. Asked about that, al-Mutlaq said simply: "Let them."

That suggested the Shiites and their Kurdish allies might be prepared to send the document to the assembly without Sunni concurrence.

"This is the end of the road," Government spokesman Laith Kubba told Al-Arabiya television. "In the end, we will put this constitution to the people to decide."

(Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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