OTTAWA – Prime Minister Jean Chretien said Thursday he has yet to see evidence that would justify Canadian support for a military campaign against Iraq.
Chretien said he was ready to hear U.S. President Bush's reasons for wanting to topple Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein. Chretien and Bush meet Monday in Detroit, Michigan.
"I will see what he has to say, I will listen and we will decide," Chretien told reporters after a Cabinet meeting.
The Bush administration has said one of its goals is removing Saddam from power. But Army Secretary Thomas White said Thursday the Army has not been given orders to begin preparing for an invasion.
So far, Chretien said, the United States has yet to provide any evidence of Iraqi links to international terrorio nsm that would justify an attack.
"It has been agreed with Mr. Bush that if the time comes where there is evidence, we will talk about it and they will produce that evidence," Chretien said.
Canada has supplied special forces troops, army soldiers, ships and planes as logistical support in the U.S.-led campaign in Afghanistan. Chretien said Canada remained committed to the war on terrorism, even though it has yet to endorse an Iraq campaign and declined to replace 800 Canadian soldiers in Afghanistan when their mission ended in August.
Defense Minister John McCallum said last month that Canada would likely need evidence that Iraq intended to attack the West with weapons of mass destruction before it would agree to take part in an attack.
Canada also announced Thursday that citizens of Saudi Arabia must obtain a visa to enter the country.
Concern that Saudi passports were "vulnerable to abuse" made them a target for people seeking to enter Canada illegally, a statement from Canada's immigration department said.
Citizens from 146 countries must have a visa to travel to Canada.