Iraqi leader says the US and Iraq are not at odds over timetable

The president of Iraq's Governing Council is denying reports that a rift exists with Washington over a timetable for handing over power to the 25 member body.

Speaking at a UN news conference, President Ahmad Chalabi said the council has no disagreement with the US government. He says both are working to achieve "common objectives."

An adviser to Iraq's UN delegation says his country wants to immediately gain at least partial control of finance and security.

But Iraqi and US officials say the Bush administration has rebuffed an appeal by Chalabi for the US to relinquish quick control of security and finance to the council.

A senior council member says a constitution could be ready by May. He says that would prepare the way for a referendum and eventual election for a permanent government.

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