Pachachi said there were signs that the deadlock over the formation of a new government would be resolved by then.

"I spoke to the heads of all the political blocs and I sensed a true intent from all to push the political process forward," he said.

The Iraqi parliament was elected last December but has held only one session because of continuing disagreements over the nomination of acting president Ibrahim al-Jaafari.

Sunni and Kurdish parties have rejected al-Jaafari's candidacy and even leading figures within his own Shia United Iraqi Alliance have urged him to step aside.

Before any candidate can be put to a parliamentary vote, the speaker of the house and his two deputies must be elected, followed by a vote for a three-man presidential council, which then has to unanimously choose a prime minister.

Trial adjourned

Meanwhile in a separate development the trial of Saddam Hussein was briefly convened and then adjourned after a short ten-minute session at which none of the defendents was present.

The former Iraqi leader and his half brother Barzan al-Tikriti refused to give a handwriting sample to the court, the chief judge said.

Handwriting experts, due to testify at the hearing, were not present as they had not finished their work the chief judge said.