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Bush postpones Canadian summit

Bush is postponing a May summit with Canadian PM Chretien
Bush is postponing a May summit with Canadian PM Chretien

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WASHINGTON (CNN) -- President Bush is putting off a trip to Canada.

The White House confirmed Sunday that the president is postponing a summit with Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chretien, originally planned for May 5.

"The postponement is due to the president's ongoing obligations to help the people of Iraq build a nation that is whole, free and at peace. President Bush and Prime Minister Chretien look forward to accomplishing these goals that both share," White House spokesman Ari Fleischer said in a statement.

Spokeswoman for Prime Minister Chretien, Frederique Tsai, said by telephone, ''The two administrations agreed to postpone [the summit] because of the war in Iraq.''

Though the White House requested the postponement, the Canadian government doesn't see the move as a snub.

''We understand the necessity to postpone,'' Tsai said, adding, "We're not surprised that it's better that it's postponed, so the president can give all his attention to Iraq.''

Officials ''will be working close together to set new date. We hope in the fall,'' he said. Canada has pledged $100 million (Canadian) for reconstruction and humanitarian aid for Iraq.


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