November 30, 2004
OTTAWA - President Bush and Canadian Prime Minister Paul Martin sought on Tuesday to mend fences after four years of strained relations between the two neighbors aggravated by the U.S.-led war on Iraq.
"I made some decisions that some in Canada obviously didn't agree with," Bush said.
"I'm the kind of fellow who does what I think is right," Bush said in the Canadian capital, with Martin at his side.
For his part, Martin said, "There are obviously disagreements on questions of foreign policy," as well as differences on trade, including such issues as softwood lumber.
While they disagreed on Iraq, the two leaders voiced common ground on hoping for a peaceful resolution to end the political turmoil in Ukraine that resulted from last week's disputed national election. They called mutually for dialogue between the two sides there.
"Hopefully this issue will be solved quickly and the will of the people will be known," Bush said.
The two leaders said they had failed to resolve the impasse over a U.S. ban on imported Canadian beef because of mad cow disease that infected some Canadian cattle.
"I hope we can get this issue solved as quickly as possible. There's a bureaucracy involved," Bush said, noting a study his administration has under way on the issue.
Bush said that Martin had expressed "a great deal of frustration" that the issue hadn't been resolved. He said he sympathized with the prime minister's position. "We're working as quickly as we can," Bush said.
The president welcomed Iran's assertion that it was moving away from uranium enrichment that could be used in assembling nuclear weapons. He called it "a positive step, but it is certainly not the final step."
Iran said it would suspend processing, at least for several months.