France: U.N. Resolution 'Needs Improvement'

The U.S.-British draft resolution on post-occupation Iraq "needs improvement," the French foreign minister said Tuesday, adding France hopes to have a say in new talks over Iraqi sovereignty.

Foreign Minister Michel Barnier (search) was speaking a day after Washington and London presented a draft Security Council resolution setting out plans for a partial handover of power to an interim Iraqi government by June 30.

"This resolution needs improvements," the minister told reporters after meeting with Javier Solana (search), the European Union's foreign policy representative.

Barnier declined to go into details but said France would be "frank" with the United States and Britain as it seeks to make the proposal "credible for the Iraqi people and the international community."

"Our concern is to be useful in putting an end to this tragedy and to speak up about our convictions and our ideas to do so, hoping that this time we will be listened to," he said.

Presented to a closed-door Security Council session Monday, the draft resolution would transfer "governing authority" to an interim government by the end of next month.

At the same time, however, it would authorize a multinational force to do whatever is necessary to maintain security in the country. White House spokesman Scott McClellan said Monday that the United States planned to remain in command of the force.

In an interview published Tuesday in the French newspaper Le Figaro, Barnier called for a "round table" to be set up, bringing together Iraq's main political players to approve the choice of a new interim government before the U.N. resolution is voted on.

The new government "will be credible only if it has real powers," Barnier told the newspaper, adding that it "must, therefore, be accepted by the different political forces and the main communities, the Sunnis, the Shiites and the Kurds."

The comments came as U.N. envoy Lakhdar Brahimi (search) was in Iraq, where he is expected to announce nominations for the new interim government as early as this week.

France led the opposition to the U.S. invasion of Iraq, leaving ties with Washington at their lowest point in recent memory. France insisted that military intervention needed U.N. backing to be legitimate.

In his Le Figaro interview, Barnier said France and the United States were "definitively friends and allies, and we will recall this with much gratitude and force on June 6," the 60th anniversary of the D-Day landings which helped lead to the defeat of Nazi Germany in World War II.