France says Iraq handover deadline too late

France says the deadline of 30 June of next year for the United States to hand over power to an Iraqi government is too late.

    De Vellipin forsees a transitional govt in place end of December

    It has instead called for a transitional body to take control by the end of the year.

    "My feeling that it (the June 30 deadline) is too late," French Foreign Minister Dominique de Villepin told the French Catholic daily La Croix in its Monday edition.
    "We have to move faster. We are in a situation of great urgency. We must take on board the concerns and preoccupations of the people in that region," de Villepin said.
    The minister, whose government remains one of the strongest critics of US policy in Iraq, said he could see a 15-member transitional Iraqi government in place by the end of December, which would be made up of members of the current US-installed 25-member Iraqi governing council as well as other Iraqi representatives.

    Under an agreement between the Coalition Provisional Authority and the governing council unveiled over the weekend, a provisional Iraqi government is to be formed by June, named by a transitional assembly to be elected by the end of May.

    Direct elections are to be held by the end of 2005.



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