Archbishop Jean-Louis Tauran, Vatican secretary for relations with states, made that view known in an interview that will be published Tuesday by the Italian newspaper Avvenire.

"If the international community, inspired in the resolutions of the U.N. Security Council, judges the recourse to force opportune and proportionate, this must happen with a resolution adopted in the framework of the U.N. itself," the archbishop stressed.

The United Nations, he said, should decide only after evaluating the consequences of military action on the civilian population, the countries of the region, and the world scene, because otherwise it would be "the law of the most powerful."

In the United States, meanwhile, President George W. Bush pressed the U.S. case against Iraq's Saddam Hussein with Canadian Prime Minister Jean Chrétien, but won no commitments, the Associated Press said. The Bush administration has been trying to build wide support for action against Iraq.