Provisional constitution finally signed in Iraq
On March 8 the Iraqi Governing Council created by the occupation forces and US Administrator Paul Bremer have finally signed the Provisional Constitution that comes into effect from June 30 until at least the end of the year. The document, originally scheduled for signing on March 3, was postponed until March 6 as a result of three days of mourning decreed after two attacks that took the lives of more than 100 people. Disputes among important Shiite figures on some of the clauses in the Provisional Constitution project prevented the ceremony going ahead on March 6. They included one clause granting the Kurdish minority the right to annul the application of the constitution in regions where it has a majority, and the type of presidency established in the document, which instead of being rotational, provides for two vice presidents (corresponding to the country's two main minorities). The signed document, nevertheless, does not present any substantial changes. The insecure atmosphere created by constant attacks on the occupation forces has generated criticism of the United States for failing to guarantee safety in the country, whether that of the main Shiite religious authorities (the country's majority Muslim sect) or figures named by them to head the provisional civil government. Ayatollah Alm al-Sistani, the highest national Shiite leader, accused the US forces of not providing security on Iraq's borders. In his turn, Bahr al-Uloum, president of the Administration Council named by the United States, blamed the authorities responsible for maintaining security for the lack of it. In the international sphere, the latest events in Iraq prompted Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov to warn that the only possible way of resolving this problem is through the framework of a political solution guaranteeing total sovereignty for the Iraqi people. Speaking from Rome, where he initiated a tour of Europe, Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak warned of the possibility of the gates of hell being opened in the Middle East. The US plan for the region could lead to a cycle of violence and anarchy, Mubarak warned. In statements to the Italian newspaper La Repzblica, Mubarak affirmed that reforms in the Arab world need to be effected by the Arabs themselves.
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