U.S. welcomes last-minute compromise on Iraqi constitution | VailDaily.com
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U.S. welcomes last-minute compromise on Iraqi constitution

WASHINGTON – The Bush administration welcomed a last-minute compromise to gain Sunni Arab support on a new Iraqi constitution on Wednesday. But Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld suggested the breakthrough would likely bring “a spike in violence” rather than a hoped-for lessening of tensions in the run-up to Saturday’s national referendum.”The last thing in the world the enemies want is success,” Rumsfeld said in Key Biscayne, Fla., where he was attending a two-day meeting with Central American defense and security ministers.Shortly before Rumsfeld spoke, a suicide bomber killed 30 Iraqis at an army recruitment center in northern Iraq.The deal just three days before the vote made some key concessions to minority Sunnis and opened the door to further ones after a new parliament is elected in December. The Iraqi parliament approved the changes on Wednesday.”The immediate effect is very likely to be what it’s always been – that would be a spike in violence,” Rumsfeld told reporters. “If it (the agreement) holds together over the next three days,” Rumsfeld said, “you could have a constitution not only pass, which I believed all along it would pass, but pass with the support of a much broader element within the Sunni community than had previously been the case.”President Bush, meanwhile, issued a stern warning to Syria. He said the United States expected “Syria to do everything in her power to shut down the transshipment of suiciders and killers into Iraq. We expect Syria to be a good neighbor to Iraq.”Bush spoke with reporters at the conclusion of an Oval Office meeting with visiting Polish President Aleksander Kwasniewski.The compromise agreement on the Iraqi constitution was earlier applauded by White House spokesman Scott McClellan.”We have always emphasized the importance of encouraging as broad a participation in the political process as possible,” McClellan said. “We believe the political process should be inclusive.”He, too, suggested that the deal could lead to more short-term violence, such as Wednesday’s suicide bombing.”The more the Iraqi people move forward on the political process, the more desperate the terrorists become,” McClellan said. “We expect to see continued violence because the terrorists understand how high the stakes are in Iraq.””This is a positive step. We welcome it,” McClellan said. “We believe such steps will help Iraq move forward on the path to a strong and lasting democracy.”At the State Department, spokesman Adam Ereli said the agreement “shows, frankly, that the political process in Iraq is working.” He said the agreement opens the way for the vote Saturday on the constitution to be broadly inclusive.Asked about the role of U.S. Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad, Ereli said the envoy “helped forge compromises when gaps needed to be bridged.”Vail, Colorado


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