Sunni bloc demands concessions to support Iraqi-US pact

BAGHDAD (AP) -- A key group of Sunni lawmakers in Iraq says it will back the Iraqi-US security pact, but only in return for a series of concessions.

Among other things, the Sunni bloc wants the security deal put to a vote in a nationwide referendum.

Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki's Cabinet has already approved the deal allowing American troops to stay in Iraq through the end of 2011. Without support from the largest Sunni Arab group, the ruling coalition could muster only a slight majority in the 275-seat legislature.

The 44-seat Sunni bloc also wants the government to accept a package of reforms designed to give Sunni Arabs a bigger say in government and better representation in the security forces.

The parliament vote is scheduled for tomorrow.

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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