World News

Canada offers to lead new NATO operation in Iraq

Canada offers to lead new NATO operation in Iraq

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau arrives in Riga, Latvia on Monday, July 9, 2018.

Once deployed, the Canadian troops will be stationed in Baghdad and the neighboring cities of Besmaya and Taji where they will deliver training on "explosive threat search" and "manual minefield breaching", the statement said.

Such an extension has been widely expected.

Trudeau will be accompanied by Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland, Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan and Gen. Jonathan Vance, chief of the defence staff.

"We have to start thinking about how we create societies that look at different stories as opportunities to learn and grow within your societies, rather than trying to keep the challenges of the world outside of your borders". "And Canada is committed for the long term". Canada's defence spending is only expected to reach 1.4 per cent of GDP.

Trump's ongoing efforts to portray Canada and other member states as pinching pennies when it comes to the military spending target of two per cent of GDP - a benchmark agreed to by allies at the 2014 summit in Wales.

Estimates published on Tuesday showed that Portugal spent nearly €2.4 billion last year on defence and is expected to increase this to more than €2.7 billion or 1.36% of GDP this year.

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And while Canada's role in the Latvian mission is positive, it is a relatively small one compared to ongoing North Atlantic Treaty Organisation missions in Afghanistan and Kosovo - two operations that are highlighted in annual reports from North Atlantic Treaty Organisation secretary general Jans Stoltenberg, said David Perry, a senior defence analyst with the Canadian Global Affairs Institute.

"At the end of the day, however, I know that the relations between the United States and Canada militarily are going to continue to be superb".

He called the extended mission of Canadian troops in Latvia "a great present" that will contribute significantly to national security.

The prime minister also paid tribute to the 28,000 strong Latvian community in Canada, which he said enriched Canadian society, LSM reported.

Asked directly whether Canada plans to meet the two per cent target, Trudeau said simply that there are no plans to double Canada's defence budget, which now stands at around $20 billion a year.

The intervening years saw Canada deploy fighter jets, surveillance planes and air-to-air refuellers, a transport aircraft, a medical hospital and hundreds more special forces to help the coalition and Kurdish and Iraqi military forces push ISIL back and eventually defeat it on the battlefield. "We will also help set up military schools, to increase the professionalism of Iraqi forces", Mr. Stoltenberg said during a speech ahead of this week's alliance ministerial.

"My message is that we are actually now stepping up", Stoltenberg said.


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