BAGHDAD, Iraq, AP – A meeting of Iraq”s political leaders to discuss issues blocking agreement on a new constitution was postponed for a day Monday because of a severe sandstorm, President Jalal Talabani”s office announced.
The first meeting was held late Sunday and the second was to follow Monday evening, Talabani”s office said. But the storm reduced visibility to nearly zero, making it dangerous to move about Baghdad.
Kurdish leader Massoud Barzani had planned to attend but was stranded in northern Iraq since the storm grounded aircraft.
Before Sunday”s meeting began, Talabani, who hosted a first round of talks at his Baghdad home, expressed optimism that the Shiites, Sunni Arabs and Kurds could reach agreement in time for parliament to approve the charter by the Aug. 15 deadline.
The first 2 1/2 hour-session produced no breakthroughs as Sunni Arabs repeated their opposition to transforming Iraq into a federal state — a key demand of the minority Kurds.