techkenyot.com
techkenyot.com February 20, 2019


Canada to head new North Atlantic Treaty Organisation mission in Iraq

13 July 2018, 08:55 | Glen Norman

Liberal MP Patty Hajdu speaks at the Moose Hall in Thunder Bay on Thursday Dec. 21 2017

Patty Hajdu

Canada will extend its military presence in Latvia by four years, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said on Tuesday during a visit to Riga a day before a North Atlantic Treaty Organisation summit.

Canada's mission leadership role faced a self-imposed government deadline of spring 2019, but has now been extended until 2023.

Canada also contributes mobile training teams to NATO's counter-improvised explosive device capacity building efforts for Iraq.

Thanking the Canadian prime minister for this decision, Kucinskis called it the "best gift on Latvia's centenary".

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Also on Trudeau's agenda today: A mid-afternoon one-on-one with Swedish prime minister Stefan Lofven, but, according to his office, no similar get-together with Trump, although before leaving Latvia, he assured reporters before that he "looks forwards to having words" with the president.

That will serve as the backdrop for the news that Canada is renewing the mission, the current three-year mandate for which is now run out on March 31, 2019, sources told The Canadian Press, speaking on condition of anonymity in order to discuss details not yet made public.

"The US is spending many times more than any other country in order to protect them", Trump tweeted on Wednesday.

"Will they reimburse the USA?" Russian Federation has since been supporting them financially and militarily.

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There's a big target, however, painted on Trudeau's back.

"Once all national procedures have been completed to finalize the name agreement, the country will join NATO as our 30th member", NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said.

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. However, the increased commitment by the alliance in Iraq could be a major step in that direction. The current force battling the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria consists of about 9,000 troops, some 5,000 of who are American. 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.

Canada is expected to spend an estimated 1.23 per cent of its GDP on defence in 2018 - down from 1.36 per cent a year ago, says the annual report, which looks at military investments for all member states.

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Note to readers: This is a corrected story.



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