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Sunni Arabs End Boycott of Constitution - ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive
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BAGHDAD, Iraq, AP – Sunni Arab members of a committee writing Iraq”s new constitution ended their boycott Monday, the secretary to the committee chairman said.

Six of the 12 Sunnis joined the committee meeting that began behind closed doors Monday morning, said Baqir Hammoudi, secretary to Humam Hammoudi, the head of the committee.

Sunni member Ali al-Mishhedani said the others were absent because they lived too far from Baghdad or had other personal commitments. He said the others were expected in Baghdad later in the day.

Saleh al-Mutlaq, another Sunni member, said the Sunnis would meet Tuesday to review the charter”s preliminary draft.

The Sunnis had suspended participation in the committee to protest last Tuesday”s assassination of two Sunnis involved in drafting the charter, which must be approved by parliament Aug. 15 and submitted to the voters in an October referendum.

Sunni Arab participation in the drafting is considered essential in order to win approval for the charter among the country”s influential minority, which forms the core of the anti-U.S. insurgency.

The Sunni decision to return to the committee had been expected. Sunni committee member Saleh al-Mutlaq told The Associated Press he and his colleagues had received verbal assurances that their grievances would be addressed.

They were to have met with the committee leadership for breakfast Monday to finalize their decision to return.

Following the Tuesday assassinations of Sunni committee member Mijbil Issa and adviser Dhamim Hussein al-Obeidi, the 12 remaining Sunnis demanded an international investigation into the killings, better security and a greater Sunni role in deliberations.

It was not clear whether all their demands had been accepted.

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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