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Iraqi President Believes Constitution Will be Adopted

Iraqi President Jalal Talabani says he believes voters will approve the country's new constitution in a nationwide referendum next month.

At a news conference Friday at the Voice of America in Washington, Mr. Talabani said he did not think Sunni Arab objections would prevent the document's approval. But if it is rejected, he said elections would be held for a new national assembly, which would then draft a new document.

He repeated his support for a federated Iraq, saying it would strengthen the country, not divide it as some Sunni Arabs fear. He also rejected suggestions that Iraq could spiral into a civil war.

Mr. Talabani said he hoped Iraqi security forces and police could be sufficiently rebuilt within one year to allow for U.S. and coalition forces to begin leaving the country.