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Former Canadian Prime Minister: Canada right to stay out of Iraq

TORONTO, March 14 (UPI) — Former Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chretien said the country made the right decision 10 years ago when it decided not to support the invasion of Iraq.

In an interview with The Globe and Mail, Chretien said some members of the opposition in Parliament criticized his government’s decision, and business groups also feared the United States might retaliate against Canada. He said it was also difficult to break with the country’s two closest allies, Britain and the United States, at a time when both were preparing for war.

But Chretien said Tuesday he did not trust U.S. intellligence claims that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction. He said the decision gave Canada greater stature internationally.

“It turned out to be very important for the independence of Canada,” Chrétien said. “It is a decision that the people of Muslim faith and Arab culture have appreciated very much from Canada, and it was the right decision.”

Like Germany and a number of other European countries, Canada joined the international military effort in Afghanistan while staying out of Iraq.

Copyright 2013 United Press International, Inc. (UPI).

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