They also offered a rough timetable for the withdrawal of   US-led occupation forces. The original draft had an open-ended mandate for the forces.

Quoting the new text, Reuters news agency on Tuesday said the mandate, "shall expire upon the completion of the political process."

The resolution, to be circulated at a hastily called Security Council consultation late on Tuesday, tries to meet objections from China, France, Russia, Germany and others, who said too much was implied rather than spelled out on what Iraqi leaders could do when they assume power later this month.

No date given

Although the date for completing that process was not spelled out, diplomats said it would be when a permanent government took office, which they expected to be about December 2005.

An interim Iraqi government is to take office on 30 June.

US-led occupation forces will
remain in Iraq until at least 2005

"The revised text makes clearer that the occupation ends on 30 June and that the Iraqi interim government will be fully sovereign," State Department spokesman Richard Boucher said in Washington. "I think that in a nutshell is the main thrust of the revisions that were made."

Elections for a transitional government are to be held in January 2005, with a constitutionally elected government taking over at the end of next year.

US-led forces to stay

The main purpose of the resolution is to get international endorsement for the formation of an interim Iraqi government as well as a US-led force, empowered to take "all necessary measures" to keep the peace.

On the issue of powers, the resolution would make clear that Iraq has immediate control of its natural resources but that an international advisory board to audit books of a fund that receives oil revenues would stay in place for the time being.

The transitional government next year, rather than the new interim government that takes office on 30 June, will have the right to ask the UN Security Council for a review on whether
the international auditing board should continue.

Unclear is whether a new fledgling Iraqi army would have the right to refuse a battle order by the US command.

The United States has said such arrangements would be spelled out in letters between Iraqi leaders and the US military that would be attached to the resolution.