The US administrator in Iraq, Paul Bremer, has played down differences with Iraq's majority Shia population over the transfer of power to the country.

Iraqi Shias are demanding direct elections before the transfer of power at the end of June.

Speaking after talks with President Bush in Washington, Mr Bremer said the US would be willing to consider 'refinements' to its plan for transferral of power.

Mr Bremer is expected to press for UN support when he meets Secretary General Kofi Annan and members of the US-appointed Iraqi Governing Council on Monday.