General Electric said Thursday that it has extended the deadline on its offer to buy Alstom's energy assets until June 23, in response to a request by the French government. The US industrial conglomerate previously had given the Alstom board until June 2 to approve the $17 billion acquisition deal that has sparked a furor among nationalists and French officials. "At the request of the French government, we have agreed, in consultation with Alstom, to extend the deadline for consideration by the Alstom board of our proposal until June 23," GE said in a statement. "We have done so to facilitate ongoing discussions with the government. The industrial project we have presented is good for Alstom, for France and for GE, and our discussions have continued to be constructive. We view this extension positively." GE has run into opposition from French nationalists over its offer to buy the French company's energy unit, which builds generators, turbines and transmission systems and would complement GE's own power industry division. The unit accounts for 70 percent of Alstom's business, and would leave behind the railway equipment division that manufactures France's prized TGV high-speed trains. Last week the French government passed a new law that would allow the government to veto unwanted foreign takeovers of major French companies, including the GE-Alstom deal/ Meanwhile, German company Siemens, a major rival of both GE and Alstom, has expressed interest and, according to French Economy Minister Arnaud Montebourg on Tuesday, is expected to make an offer for Alstom. GE on April 30 announced that it submitted a binding offer to acquire the Alstom energy assets that had been "positively received" by the board.