Secretary of State James Baker said Monday he still hopes for a peaceful solution to the Persian Gulf crisis but it is up to Iraq to avert war by withdrawing from Kuwait.

Baker, who met for an hour with Canadian Prime Minster Brian Mulroney before departing for Washington at the end of a Europe-Middle East tour, told reporters the situation in the Persian Gulf is "deteriorating, regrettably deteriorating."Baker, who has been holding last-minute talks with nations allied against Iraq, said there was "total solidarity" among the coalition, despite "one or two differences." He said the coalition is fully prepared for the possibility of war.

Mulroney said that Canada would stand firm with the United Nations in implementing the Security Council resolutions.

"The choice is now Saddam's. If war is to be averted, he must withdraw his forces from Kuwait," Mulroney said.