President Jacques Chirac on Thursday hailed the fall of Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein and said that full sovereignty must be returned to the nation as soon as possible and "with the legitimacy of the United Nations".
"It is now necessary to create the conditions which will give the Iraqi
people its dignity in refound freedom," a statement from the French president's office said.
The most urgent matter at hand is allowing humanitarian aid to get through by securing the country, it added.
France, which led the effort to avoid war by the US-led coalition, has said that it considers the American and British troops on the ground the best place to secure Iraq. However, it wants a central role for the United Nations in the process of reconstruction.
"As soon as possible, after the necessary phase of securing (the country), Iraq must return to its full sovereignty in a stabilised region with the legitimacy of the United Nations," the president's office said.
US President George W Bush and British Prime Minister Tony Blair agreed over the weekend that the United Nations should have a "vital role" in rebuilding Iraq.