Bush praises Iraqis for constitution while clashes continue throughout country
US President George W. Bush called the completion of Iraq's long awaited draft constitution on Sunday a "step towards Iraqi democracy," praising Iraqi negotiators for their work.
"This is a document of which the Iraqis and the rest of the world can be proud," he said. Despite Sunni opposition to elements of the document, a ceremony marking its completion was held on Sunday. The constitution will be presented for public approval in a nationwhide referendum on October 15.
"As democracy in Iraq takes root," Bush added, "the enemies of freedom, the terrorists, will become more desperate, more despicable, and more vicious," according to Reuters.
Bush had appealed last week to Shiite groups to compromise with Sunnis on the controversial wording of the document to which many Sunnis had objections to, hoping to improve his image in the US and to curb tensions in Iraq which could potentially lead to civil war.
Nonetheless, Bush minimized Sunni opposition to the draft, though he acknowledged the problem. "Some Sunnis have expressed reservations about various provisions of the constitution", he said, adding that the upcoming referendum could lead to a new wave of "atrocities."
Meanwhile on Sunday, clashes continued throughout the country. Reuters soundman Waleed Khaled was killed in Baghdad and his cameraman was wounded, apparently by US soldiers. The two men were both Iraqi nationals. US military spokesman said the incident was being investigated.
In separate incidents on Sunday, two Iraqi policemen were killed and one wounded in the town of Baquba north of Baghdad when gunmen attacked their checkpoint. Another two policemen were killed in western Baghdad when gunmen opened fire at their patrol.
In Fallujah, three policemen were found shot dead, while three people were killed and five wounded in Mosul when a car struck a US patrol.
US military sources reported that one Iraqi gunman was killed during a firefight with American forces in the town of Kirkuk south of Baghdad.
© 2005 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)