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Iraq Leaders Postpone Constitution Meeting - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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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.

Asharq Al-Awsat

Asharq Al-Awsat

Asharq Al-Awsat is the world’s premier pan-Arab daily newspaper, printed simultaneously each day on four continents in 14 cities. Launched in London in 1978, Asharq Al-Awsat has established itself as the decisive publication on pan-Arab and international affairs, offering its readers in-depth analysis and exclusive editorials, as well as the most comprehensive coverage of the entire Arab world.

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