US welcomes Iraqi constitution despite disagreements
The United Stated announced on Monday that it welcomed the submission of Iraq's long-awaited draft constitution submitted on Monday night, adding that it hopes the draft can be finalized by Thursday, the current deadline set by Iraqi leaders to finalized the document.
The constitution's deadline had already been postponed for one week, which had especially upsetting US officials who had a hand in setting the deadline.
"We welcome today's development as another step forward in Iraq's constitutional process," a White House statement said. "The progress made over the past week has been impressive, with consensus reached on most provisions through debate."
Despite US optimism, some feel that a deal regarding the constitution draft is farther away than expected. Though the draft was submitted minutes before Monday's midnight deadline by Shiite, Kurd and Sunni negotiators, final voting on it was postponed for an additional three days because of fierce resistance over issues including federalism, central government and oil revenue distribution.
The 15 Sunni members of the drafting committee issued a statement early Tuesday saying they had rejected the constitution because the government and the committee did not abide by an agreement for consensus. "We reject the draft constitution that was submitted because we did not have an accord on it," said Sunni delegate Nasser al-Janabi.
After adjourning the session, parliament speaker Hajim al-Hassani told reporters that the main outstanding issues were federalism, the formation of federal units, problems related to mentioning the Baath Party in the constitution, and the division of powers between the president, the parliament and the Cabinet.