Monday, May 14, 2007

Lawmakers: Iraqi panel drafting constitutional amendments seeks 1-week deadline extension over Kirkuk referendum

An Iraqi army soldier with the 4th Company, 3rd Strategic Infrastructure Brigade keeps over an oil pipeline at a patrol base near Kirkuk on April 26.

BAGHDAD: A parliamentary committee set up to study amendments to Iraq's constitution has failed to agree on a number of issues and will seek a weeklong extension of its deadline to present a report to parliament, lawmakers said Monday.

The 30-member committee was to have presented its report Tuesday — four months after it was established. Amending the constitution to address Sunni Arab concerns is one of the key benchmarks for measuring political progress in Iraq.

But the committee was unable to reach an agreement on its report. Lawmakers said the committee will ask for an extension until Tuesday, the next time parliament is scheduled to meet.

Iraqi politicians said the major stumbling block was a provision about the future of the oil-rich city of Kirkuk, which the Kurds want to annex into their semiautonomous northern region. Arabs and Turkomen object.

Read the rest at the International Herald Tribune

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