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Shi'ites Say Iraqi Constitution Ready for Parliament

Shi'ites Say Iraqi Constitution Ready for Parliament By VOA News 22 August 2005 Shi'ite negotiators say they and Kurdish leaders have reached agreement on a new Iraqi constitution and will submit a draft of the charter to parliament for approval Monday.

Leaders of the two groups along with Sunni negotiators have been working to strike a deal on the constitution before parliament's deadline of midnight, Baghdad time.

Sunni leaders say they object to the Shi'ite and Kurdish-supported draft but appear to lack the votes in parliament to block its approval.

Sunnis say if parliament approves the charter, they will urge all Iraqis to reject it in the nationwide referendum scheduled to follow.

Details on the draft remain sketchy. One key passage reportedly refers to Iraq as a federal state, a concept the Sunnis have consistently opposed.

The three sides have been negotiating for weeks in a bid to overcome differences on the role of Islam in the state, women's rights, and arrangements for sharing power and oil revenue.

Meanwhile, the U.S. military says one American soldier was killed and three others wounded when a bomb went off near their patrol in Samarra Monday.