Iraq PM aide: Government rejects Sunni demands

An aide to the Iraqi prime minister said on Thursday that the government's Shi'te bloc rejected two demands by mostly Sunni lawmakers who want concessions in return for supporting a security pact with the United States. The dispute delayed a vote on the pact, which would allow US troops to stay in Iraq for three more years. The vote is scheduled for Thursday. Sami al-Askari, an aide to Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, said that Sunni lawmakers demand the repeal of a law designed to weed out senior members of Saddam Hussein's now-outlawed Baath Party from government agencies, and the dissolution of a special tribunal that was set up to try Saddam and top lieutenants.