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Last Updated: Wednesday, 1 December, 2004, 10:46 GMT
Bush patches up Canada relations
US President George Bush and Canadian Prime Minister Paul Martin in Ottawa
The two leaders are keen to put their differences aside
US President George W Bush has held talks with Canadian Prime Minister Paul Martin in which the two leaders agreed to work together to fight terrorism.

Mr Bush's first official trip to Canada is being interpreted as a sign the US is keen to mend fences with countries, like Canada, that opposed the Iraq war.

Mr Martin said the talks had led to a "spirit of renewal", although the leaders acknowledged their differences.

Meanwhile, anti-US protesters scuffled with police in Ottawa.

Opinion polls suggest a large majority of Canadians wanted Mr Bush to lose the US presidential election.

The president did not address parliament in the capital, apparently because of the risk of being heckled.

Unresolved issues

After talks, Mr Bush and Mr Martin pledged to co-operate on terrorism.

"I made some decisions that some in Canada obviously didn't agree with," Mr Bush said, with Mr Martin at his side.

"I'm the kind of fellow who does what I think is right and will continue to do what I think is right.

"I will consult with our friends and neighbours but if I think it is right to remove Saddam Hussein for the security of the United States, that is the course of action I will take."

US President George W Bush (right) and Canadian Prime Minister Paul Martin

Mr Bush said people should support most of the agenda agreed with Mr Martin, however, including fighting poverty and disease in Africa and working towards democracy in Afghanistan and Iraq.

On Wednesday, Mr Bush will visit Halifax, Nova Scotia, where he will thank locals for caring for trans-Atlantic passengers stranded when the US closed its airspace after the 11 September attacks in 2001.

The BBC's Justin Webb in Ottawa says the two leaders are keen to try to put their disagreements behind them, stressing the underlying friendship that exists across the world's longest undefended border.

Mr Bush made a brief mention of talks on Canada's further co-operation in America's controversial missile defence programme, but the full details of those talks are not known.

Public opinion is deeply opposed to Canadian involvement, but Canada is also a key player in Norad, a common North American defence alliance.

Mad cow disease

There have also been disagreements on trade issues between the two countries, who have the biggest trading relationship in the world, doing $1bn worth of business every day.

The two leaders said they had failed to resolve the impasse over a US ban on imported Canadian beef because of a case of mad cow disease.

"I hope we can get this issue solved as quickly as possible. There's a bureaucracy involved," Mr Bush said.

It is believed the US wants Canadian help with monitoring Iraq elections and training military officers as a signal to other US allies that co-operation without full participation in Iraq is possible, correspondents say.

The White House would view that willingness to engage in Iraq with great relief, our correspondent adds.

The dialogue between the two nations became particularly strained under Mr Martin's predecessor, Jean Chretien, when he decided against sending troops to Iraq.

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