Leaders of the Sunni Arab, Shiite and Kurdish factions planned make-or-break talks for 11 a.m. Monday, according to officials of all three groups. "I am not optimistic," Sunni Arab negotiator Kamal Hamdoun said. "We either reach unanimity or not."
Iraqi officials insisted they would meet the new Monday deadline and present a final document to the National Assembly, dominated by Shiites and Kurds. But the chief government spokesman suggested another delay may be necessary.
The deadline for a new constitution already was extended by a week last Monday after negotiators failed to agree on a number of contentious issues, including federalism, distribution of Iraq's oil wealth, power relationships among the provinces and the role of the Shiite clerical hierarchy in Najaf.
Since then, Shiite and Kurdish negotiators have reportedly agreed on a number of issues. Vice President Adil Abdul-Mahdi, a Shiite, said 97 percent of the draft had been finished and predicted the document would be forwarded to parliament on time Monday.
CBS News Correspondent Lara Logan reports that Sunnis and Shiites found rare common ground in rejecting proposals that would split Iraq into federal states, depriving the central government of control over the nation's oil.
Government spokesman Laith Kubba expressed hope that political leaders would complete the draft by the deadline. If not, Kubba said there were two options: amend the interim constitution again and extend the deadline or dissolve parliament.
But the Sunni Arabs complained that they have been sidelined in the talks and have only been invited to one session with the other groups since the extension was granted.
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Meanwhile, as of late Sunday, Sunni Arab negotiators said they were sticking by their opposition to federalism and their other demands.
"At a time when there are few hours left to announce the draft, we still see no active coordination and seriousness to draft the constitution," the Sunni Arab negotiators said in a statement.
They urged the United States, the United Nations and the international community to intervene to prevent a draft from moving forward without unanimous agreement among all three factions — a move which "would make the current crisis more complicated."