- The Washington Times - Sunday, June 24, 2007

REUTERS NEWS AGENCY

BAGHDAD — Iraq’s parliament voted yesterday to cut its summer holiday by a month to give lawmakers more time to pass a package of laws the Bush administration views as key to fostering national reconciliation between the country’s warring sects.

The move is likely to be welcomed by the United States, although the draft laws have yet to be presented to parliament for debate. Analysts say the Shi’ite, Kurd and Sunni Arab political blocs have shown little willingness to compromise on key issues.

Lawmakers said the current session of parliament would be extended until the end of July. But parliamentary committees dealing with the draft laws would not take any summer break, one legislator said.

“So far parliament has received nothing from the committees. I doubt that any of these committees will deliver something to parliament this month,” said Izzalddin al-Dawla, a member of the Iraqi Accordance Front, the biggest Sunni Arab bloc.

U.S. officials and lawmakers have been frustrated by the lack of political progress and have urged parliament to either scrap or shorten the planned July-August summer break.