President Jacques Chirac of France and Chancellor Gerhard Schroeder of Germany have given a cool response to the United States' proposals for a new United Nations Security Council resolution on Iraq.
By William Horsley
BBC world affairs correspondent
At a meeting in the German city of Dresden, both leaders said the Americans' ideas failed to give sufficient authority to the UN or to do enough to hand over political control to the Iraqis themselves.
Germany and France are united over Iraq
These hardly sounded like the words of firm allies of America, which France and Germany claim to be.
In a deliberate and co-ordinated snub to the US proposals, the French president said they left the situation "very very far" from that which France would see as satisfactory.
In an echo of his historic threat before the war to use France's veto against America in the UN Security Council, Jacques Chirac said France would put forward its own amendments, and it was not possible to foresee how France would cast its vote.
He complained that the US plans failed to show enough will to transfer governmental powers to the Iraqis quickly.
He made no mention at all of a specific American proposal, that the United Nations envoy in Iraq should take on a new role in guiding the work of the Iraqi Governing Council, and help it draw up a timetable for free elections.
Chancellor Schroeder also sounded uncompromising.
He said stability and democracy in Iraq would only come about if the United Nations takes over the responsibility for the political process.
A journalist asked under what conditions France and Germany might contribute troops themselves to help bring security to Iraq, but this was not answered.
Clearly, both want to score political points off the US and its allies, and will seek to exact a high price for any diplomatic support they may eventually give the Americans at the UN.
Strikingly, while the French and German leaders present themselves as urgently concerned for the Iraqi people they said nothing at this news conference to address their urgent practical needs, for security and a fresh start.
The UK prime minister, Tony Blair, speaking in London at about the same time, insisted that Iraqis were mostly united in rejoicing at the end of Saddam Hussein's regime.
He said he believed France and Germany were also committed to doing all they could to help Iraq succeed in future.