But the Sunnis denounced the text and called on people to reject it in the referendum.

The announcement by Parliament Speaker Hajim al-Hassani on Saturday and the statements by the Sunnis signalled an end to the intense negotiations and their failure to produce a draft accepted by all factions.

That sets the stage for an intense battle over the next two months by forces supporting and opposing the draft in the run-up to the 15 October referendum.

The announcement could also lead to an intensification of violence in the war-torn land at a time when American public support for the Iraq war is dropping.

"A parliamentary agreement has been reached between the Kurdish coalition and the [Shia] alliance on accepting the suggestions of the forces that did not take part in the elections (Sunnis) and it will be announced in parliament tomorrow," al-Hassani, a Sunni Arab, said.

Federalism unresolved

Al-Hassani added that there were many attempts at reaching a draft acceptable to all parties.

"The question of federalism will be postponed to be reviewed by the next national assembly"

Hajim al-Hassani,
Iraqi parliament speaker

"Of course no party can obtain all that it wants in the constitution.

"I, too, have reservations on some issues. But we have to agree on a general framework on which to run a referendum by the Iraqi people," he said.

He added that "the question of federalism will be postponed to be reviewed by the next national assembly, but no other items will be carried forward".

"We cannot raise any views on the draft constitution now until we meet at the assembly on Sunday," he said.