Canada extending mission in Latvia; adding more troops — NewsAlert

Canada To Lead NATO Training Mission In Iraq

Latvian ambassador Karlis Eihenbaums (second from left) thanks the approximately 100 Canadian Army soldiers from 1 Canadian Mechanized Brigade Group deploying to Latvia as part of the enhanced Forward Presence Battle Group at Edmonton International Airport in Nisku on Friday, June 9, 2017.

In a press release, Trudeau's office said Canadian troops "will be deployed to Baghdad and the vicinity" starting in the autumn of 2018 and running for a year.

As a founding member of NATO, Canada has demonstrated strong and active leadership in the organization.

"Ottawa should, and ought to, remain engaged in the security of the Baltic states as long as the threat remains and as long as the alliance remains ultimately unified in its determination to provide collective security for all its members".

The training mission, in the works for at least two years, will be commanded by a Canadian major-general, and Canadian troops will provide the bulk of the headquarters staff. Trump's trade adviser Peter Navarro went as far as telling a US talk show that there was "a special place in hell" for Trudeau, though he later walked back the remark. They will lay a wreath at the monument of freedom before meeting with Canadian troops at the military base just outside the city.

Trump has threatened to pull out of the alliance entirely if other member nations don't pony up.

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

Trump took Twitter swipes at Canada following the G7 summit - mostly over Canadian dairy policy - but reserved his most persistent and personal attacks for Trudeau himself, calling him "dishonest" and "weak" for telling the closing G7 news conference that Canada would not be "pushed around" on trade. That is, we see the increasing presence of the United States and Canada to Europe,"he said".

The prime minister is expected to use the extension to defend Canada from criticism from Trump that America's northern neighbour is not spending enough on defence.

"He does seem to have a habit of doing what he says he's going to do".

Concerns about US disengagement have also deepened given that Trump is scheduled to meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin just days after the summit.

The mission is a natural next step for Canada, the Liberal government said in a statement, as the focus in Iraq moves from fighting ISIL to improving the capability of domestic security forces.

"The (Latvian mission) has become a symbol of strength that reminds us that only the commitment and the unity of the alliance will deter Russian adventurism", said Jayson Derow, a research analyst at the NATO Association of Canada.

Following Thursday's emergency session of North Atlantic Treaty Organisation members, Trump declared the military alliance to be "very unified, very strong, no problem".



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