- Title: IRAQ: TOP SHI'ITE CLERIC ISSUES WARNING TO U.N. OVER KURDISH AUTONOMY.
- Date: 9th June 2004
- Summary: (W5) BAGHDAD, IRAQ (JUNE 8, 2004) (REUTERS - ACCESS ALL) 1. LV/GV: THOUSANDS MARCHING SHOUTING SUPPORT FOR GRAND AYATOLLAH ALI AL-SISTANI (2 SHOTS) 0.18 3. CU: POSTER OF SISTANI 0.24 4. MV/CU: MORE OF THE DEMONSTRATION WITH DEMONSTRATORS SHOUTING SUPPORT FOR SISTANI (4 SHOTS) 0.50 5. (SOUNDBITE) (Arabic) DEMONSTRATOR AHMED AL-AMIDI, LAWYER, TALKING ABOUT SISTANI'S STATEMENT ON MONDAY SAYING: "He sent a message to the security forces saying that the majority of the Iraqi people oppose the new interim constitution and the security council should take this seriously." 1.07 6. MV/GV: MORE OF DEMONSTRATION (2 SHOTS) 1.26 (EU) BAGHDAD, IRAQ (JUNE 8, 2004) (REUTERS - ACCESS ALL) 7. TV/GV: VARIOUS OF DEMONSTRATION MARCH (7 SHOTS) 2.06 Initials Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved
- Embargoed: 24th June 2004 13:00
- Location: BAGHDAD, IRAQ
- Country: Iraq
- Reuters ID: LVA1NMQ9C7O1YFYWZBUANCHLTG61
- Story Text: Thousands demonstrate in support of a top Shi'ite
cleric saying that any UN resolution mentioning an interim
Iraqi constitution endorsing Kurdish autonomy would have
Thousands marched through the streets of Baghdad on
Tuesday (June 8) in support of top Shi'ite cleric, Grand
Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, who warned the United Nations
that failing to endorse autonomy for Kurds in Iraq would
have "dangerous consequences".
Sistani said in a written statement on Monday (June 7)
that the constitution had been "created by an unelected
council in the shadow of occupation and under its direct
"This matter is illegal and is rejected by most of the
Iraqi people. Therefore, any attempt to bestow legitimacy
on this law (constitution) by mentioning it in the
international resolution ...will have dangerous
Sistani's views hold huge sway with Iraq's 60-percent
Shi'ite majority and his opposition to measures proposed by
U.S. authorities in Iraq has prompted changes in the past.
"He sent a message to the security forces saying that
the majority of the Iraqi people oppose the new interim
constitution and the security council should take this
seriously," said Ahmed al-Amidi, a lawyer at the
Iraq's Kurds, who make up 20 percent of the population,
are pushing to have measures of autonomy granted to them in
Iraq's interim constitution enshrined in the U.N.
The United States and Britain are pressing UN Security
Council members to pass the resolution on Iraq's future
quickly, possibly as early as Tuesday, and were struggling
on Monday to consider a flurry of amendments to the text.
There was little chance the latest draft would
accommodate the Kurds, who are threatening to quit the
government unless the resolution endorses the autonomy
granted them in the interim constitution, which was signed
Measures adopted in the interim constitution are not
mentioned in the latest drafts of the U.N. resolution
because of long-standing objections from Sistani.
Monday's statement from the cleric urged the 15-member
Security Council to take Sistani's objections on board.
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