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Last Updated: Wednesday, 14 September 2005, 10:38 GMT 11:38 UK
Amended Iraq charter sent to UN
Iraqi constitution drafting committee
The constitution debate has divided Iraq on ethnic and religious lines
Iraq's constitution has been submitted to the United Nations for printing and distribution, a senior official says.

Deputy speaker Hussein Shahristani said the document contained some fresh amendments, including a commitment to respect the charter of the Arab League.

The draft constitution is due to be distributed to Iraqis before a referendum in one month's time.

An earlier version of it had already been published in several newspapers and is also available on the internet.

Under an agreement with the government, the UN is charged with printing and overseeing distribution of the document ahead of a referendum on 15 October.

Unity threat

Mr Shahristani said some minor changes had been made to the wording of the text that was presented to parliament on 28 August.

He said these included a reference to water resources being managed by central government rather than provincial authorities, and the provision of two, rather than three, deputy prime ministers.

The original document had been approved by the Shia and Kurdish blocs in the drafting committee but rejected by the Sunni Arab minority.

Correspondents say Sunni leaders almost certain to reject the concessions and have called for people to vote against the text in the referendum.

They argue that the constitution's federal approach risks breaking up the country into different ethnic and religious communities.

They are also vehemently opposed on other points, such as the text's description of Iraq as a Muslim country, but not an Arab one.

If two-thirds of voters reject it in any three provinces, the constitution will have to be redrafted.

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