Published: Sat, July 14, 2018
Worldwide | By Myra Stephens

Canada extends leadership of North Atlantic Treaty Organisation battlegroup in Latvia for four years

Canada extends leadership of North Atlantic Treaty Organisation battlegroup in Latvia for four years

Canada will take command of a new training mission in Iraq created to counter the threat of a Daesh re-emergence, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced Wednesday at the NATO Summit in Brussels.

Ottawa has committed up to 250 Canadian troops and up to four Griffon helicopters to the mission, which includes a so-called "train the trainer" aspect to help the Iraqi army develop skills aimed at preventing the re-emergence of Islamic State militants and other threats to the country.

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.

"Canada knows that a peaceful world, a more democratic world is good for Canada, is good for all of us and that's why we believe so deeply in NATO, that's why we stand so strongly with the trans-Atlantic alliance, and we'll continue to step up everywhere we can", said Trudeau.

"When America spends three per cent plus of the world's biggest GDP on its armed forces - and the rest of the Western world scarcely two per cent, it's hard to dispute Trump's view that most of us have been keeping safe on the cheap", Mr Abbott says.

During his visit, Trudeau will meet with Latvian Prime Minister Maris Kucinskis and President Raimonds Vejonis.

The president acknowledged Monday on Twitter that other member states have increased their defence spending, but repeated his complaint that the US contributes far more than other countries, which he said "is not fair nor is it acceptable".

"The prime minister is saying that Canada is doing great things", Perry said.

I wrote "FACTS" earlier in the Black sea flagship entered the U.S. Navy ship USS Mount Whitney to participate in joint Ukrainian-American exercises Sea Breeze-2018.

Prior to the June NATO meeting and this week's annual ministerial, Pentagon sources told The Washington Times that Mr. Mattis meant to present the US plan to expand the size and scope of the Iraqi military training operation - putting it on par with the ongoing mission in Afghanistan.

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

The 2018 NATO Summit took place in Belgium on Wednesday.

U.S. President Donald Trump and NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg have latched onto the target as an important indicator of how much individual members are contributing to the alliance.

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