Czech president ends visit in Ottawa

The president of the Czech Republic Vaclav Havel was in meetings Friday with Prime Minister Jean Chretien before bidding farewell to Canada.

Havel was on a three-day visit to Canada with stops in Winnipeg and Ottawa. The president of the new NATO member country planned his trip as a recognition of the 50th anniversary of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization.

Havel commented on NATO's bombing campaign on Yugoslavia throughout his visit. He told the House of Commons Thursday that "decent people cannot sit back and watch systematic, state-directed massacres of other people."

Havel called NATO's action an "ethical war" being fought on solely humanitarian grounds.

Chretien warmly welcomed Havel to parliament on Thursday calling him a great leader who's worked hard in the face of tyranny.

The Czech Republic president received another honour this week. He was awarded a doctor of laws degree at the University of Manitoba. It was given in part for Havel's role in fostering human rights in the former Czechoslovakia and bringing an end to an oppressive Communist rule there in 1989.