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New talks on Iraq constitution address Arab identity

[JURIST] Iraqi lawmakers said Saturday that new discussions on the text of the Iraqi constitution [JURIST news archive] are underway, following calls for national unity after a Baghdad stampede of Shiite religious celebrants incited by the rumor of a suicide bomber that killed nearly 1,000 [Reuters report] earlier this week. Among other things, Sunni leaders want new wording declaring Iraq part of the Arab world. The current constitutional text calls only the Arab people of Iraq part of the Arab world. The Sunni Congress of the People of Iraq issued a statement Saturday urging that a revised document reflect an Arab identity and rejecting the "division of Iraq and squandering of its wealth and resources under the pretext of federalism." Sunni representatives confirmed they were negotiating with Kurdish and Shia counterparts. Sunni negotiator Saad Janabi said, "I think it will be possible to change the wording of some articles." Aljazeera has more.

4:12 PM ET - An Iraqi official said Sunday that the renewed constitutional talks had complicated the printing of five million copies of the draft charter in preparation for the October 15 referendum. A senior member of the National Assembly's constitution drafting committee told Reuters, however, that whether last-minute changes were made to the document or not, "we will start printing it this week." Reuters has more.

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