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Sunni Arabs to seek new elections to settle Iraqi constitution disputes

[JURIST] Sunni Arabs are demanding that new elections be held to settle remaining disputes in the Iraqi draft constitution [English translation, JURIST news archive] as the document is anticipated to be approved by parliament Thursday. Hussein Al Falluji vowed that if the draft constitution is approved, Sunnis on the drafting committee will argue before an Iraqi court that the constitution deadline of August 22 was not met since there was an additional three-day grace period [JURIST report] after that date. Falluji said "the draft is illegal and it is a violation of the interim constitution." Sunni members have been negotiating with Shiite Arab and Kurd committee members [JURIST report] this week, opposing more than 20 areas of the draft, including the issue of federalism. Reuters has more.

Meanwhile, Iraqi constitutional delays caused Japan to cancel Thursday a United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) [official website] summit planned in Tokyo this week to discuss restoring marshlands in southern Iraq [UNEP backgrounder]. A UNEP spokesman said the meeting was postponed since Iraqi Environment Minister Nermin Othman was called back to Iraq for constitutional negotiations. The meeting was expected to raise money for Iraq's revival project from countries including the US, Italy, Canada, and Japan. The meeting has not yet been rescheduled. AP has more.

10:06 AM ET - An Iraqi parliament spokesman has now said the Thursday vote on the Iraqi draft constitution has been cancelled [JURIST report].

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