A top Bush administration official says coalition forces in Iraq will not be "colonial occupiers," although the U.S. military could be there for some time after the war is over, until a new Iraqi government is set up.

In an interview on the U.S. television program Fox News Sunday, Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz said coalition forces could remain in Iraq for more than six months after the fighting has stopped, while power is transferred to an interim Iraqi government.

Mr. Wolfowitz was asked about reports that an interim authority to oversee the transfer of power to Iraqis could begin operating next week. "[I] can't give you a time" he said. "I mean, the interim authority is really a bridge, from the coalition administration that's going to start, to, ultimately, a legitimate and competent government for Iraq."

Members of the United Nations Security Council want a strong role in helping to rebuild Iraq.

But, in an interview on the CBS television program Face the Nation, Deputy Secretary Wolfowitz suggested the United States wants to limit the U.N.'s participation in a coalition-run interim administration. "It's going to be a partnership of the coalition countries. The U.N. has an important role to play in that," he said. "Not only the U.N. functional agencies, but also the U.N. as a mechanism for mobilizing international support."

Mr. Wolfowitz called a United Nations-led government in Kosovo "a sort of permanent international administration, not one we want to follow."