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Iraqi Shi'ites Agree with Sunnis on Makeup of Constitution Committee


Shi'ite negotiators in Iraq have announced a compromise deal that will place 25 more Sunnis on the pan-Iraqi committee drafting a new constitution.

Thursday's agreement breaks weeks of deadlock over the size and conditions of Sunni participation on the drafting committee.

Under the deal, 15 Sunnis will join two others already on the committee. The remaining 10 Sunnis will serve as advisors.

Iraqi President Jalal Talabani, a Sunni Kurd, last week backed Sunni Arab demands for 25 seats on the panel. But Prime Minister Ibrahim Jaafari and fellow Shi'ites argued that any more than 15 Sunni seats would create an imbalance on the 55-member panel.

Both the United States and the European Union have backed calls for greater Sunni participation on the committee, which has four months to write a permanent constitution before a referendum set for October.

Some information for this report provided by AP and AFP.

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