The United Nations Secretary-General, Kofi Annan, has said it is not feasible to hold elections in Iraq before the United States hands over power to Iraqis on 30 June.

However, Mr Annan said the 30 June date fixed for a transfer of sovereignty ‘must be respected.’

The US wants to create an interim representative government not directly elected, but the majority Shiites have called for direct elections.

Meanwhile, three people have been killed in a roadside bomb explosion in Iraq.

The US military says two of its soldiers and at least one Iraqi died in the blast this morning at Khalidiyah, 80km west of Baghdad.

'The soldiers died from an improvised explosive device, and one Iraqi was killed as a result of this attack,' a US military spokesman said, without giving further details.

It is not known if the Iraqi was a civilian.