Published: Sat, July 14, 2018
Global | By Marsha Munoz

Canada offers to lead new North Atlantic Treaty Organisation training mission in Iraq

Canada offers to lead new North Atlantic Treaty Organisation training mission in Iraq

"The mission is the natural next step for Canada, as we move forward from the successful fight against [ISIS] to helping build institutional capacity in Iraq and create the foundations for longer-term peace and stability", according to a statement issued by Ottawa on Wednesday.

The Prime Minister's Office said Trump and Trudeau "had a conversation on the margins of the meetings today about trade, including NAFTA".

Trudeau will be accompanied by Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland, Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan and Gen. Jonathan Vance, chief of the defence staff. And the $40-million cost of Canada's training efforts in Iraq will come from previously approved funds, one senior official said, speaking on condition of anonymity given the sensitivity of the talks.

But given that Trump has followed through on other threats - including tariffs on steel and aluminum imports from Canada and the European Union, as well as a full-blown trade war with China - Perry said allies ought to be concerned about the possibility that Trump isn't bluffing.

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The Canadian military has had a presence in Iraq since September 2014, when several dozen special forces were deployed to the country as part of a USA -led coalition to help local Kurdish forces beat off an ISIL offensive that threatened to overwhelm the country.

Canada's defence spending is only expected to reach 1.4 per cent of GDP.

Including that commitment, however, Canada's current defence spending plans are only expected to bring it to 1.4 per cent of GDP, well short of the Wales target.

Canadian troops are already deployed to Iraq as part of Operation Impact, the Canadian Armed Forces' contribution to Operation Inherent Resolve. The Canadian military has since participated in every North Atlantic Treaty Organisation military operation, including in Bosnia, Kosovo, Afghanistan and Libya.

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Last year, the Government of Canada unveiled Strong, Secure, Engaged - a comprehensive, ambitious, once-in-a-generation defence policy which includes historic new funding for Canada's military.

"When you think of it, what Trump is making clear - to us and to others - is what should always have been screamingly obvious: that our nation's safety now rests in our own hands, far more than in anyone else's".

"My message is that we are actually now stepping up", Stoltenberg said. "It is in the interests of security of each state and of the world", he said.

Note to readers: This is a corrected story.

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