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UN waiting for Iraqi Assembly to sign off on constitution before printing draft

[JURIST] A UN spokesperson in Iraq confirmed Thursday that the UN plans to distribute five million copies of Iraq's draft constitution [JURIST news archive] to Iraqis before a national referendum on the charter on October 15, but indicated that printing would not go ahead "until the transitional National Assembly designates a final draft constitution", now expected Sunday. Farhan Haq's statement contradicts a Wednesday declaration by National Assembly deputy speaker Hussein al-Shahristani, who said that the final document had already been given to the UN [JURIST report] for printing and distribution. The latest revision of the document apparantly contains only minor changes, with one new article added, another dropped, and two others adjusted. The new article notes that Iraq was a founding member of the Arab League (intended to underline Iraq's Arab identity for Sunnis), the dropped article would have given the constitution precedence over international human rights agreements (the provision is said to have dropped at the instance of the US, likely concerned over the rights of women and other groups in an Iraqi charter shaped by Islamic law), and the altered articles provide for central water management and two deputies for the prime minister. AP has more.

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