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Iraqi leaders continue debate on constitution, US says process "on track"

[JURIST] Iraqi leaders continued to work on hammering out the final details of their new Constitution Thursday, with a Monday deadline looming over the talks. Debates over federalism and the role of a centralized government [JURIST report] are still a key stumbling block, although it's unclear if this clash will result in a delay in the process. Some Shiite leaders are demanding the same sort of autonomy now given to the Kurds; opponents say such decentralization will lead to a harmful divide across the country. Despite the ongoing disputes, a US State Department spokesman said the recent discussions are "moving forward" and "the political process in Iraq is on track" [press briefing transcript; AFP report]. The State Department also said that other key issues still being resolved include rights issues and issues of resource sharing. If the constitution meets the August 15 deadline for completion, a national referendum to approve the constitution will be held October 15 with general government elections later in December. Reuters has more.

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