Wednesday, 21 November, 2018

Canada extending mission in Latvia; adding more troops — NewsAlert

Canadian soldiers from India Company enhanced Forward Presence Battle Group Latvia during an exercise near Skrunda Latvia Canadian soldiers from India Company enhanced Forward Presence Battle Group Latvia during an exercise near Skrunda Latvia
Jeannette Daniel | 13 July, 2018, 20:54

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says his country is offering to lead NATO's new military training mission in Iraq for the first year and stands ready to provide 250 troops plus helicopters for the effort.

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.

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.

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.

"We will continue to step up and work together with our Allies to build a safer, more peaceful world for our citizens and people around the world".

"I think it's an important metric, amongst many others, to gauge how countries are doing in terms of contributors to NATO", Trudeau said of the two-per-cent benchmark.

Trudeau said Canada will not double its defence budget to get to that mark. Are we leading in different opportunities? The commitment was part of the alliance's expansion of the number of trainers from around a dozen now to several hundred operating out of the capital, Baghdad.

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The only true growth will be in Latvia, where the government plans to add 80 new soldiers to 450 already there.

The Iraqi mission, combined with Tuesday's announcement that Canada's commitment to the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation mission in Latvia is being extended by another four years until 2023, could help Trudeau counter criticism from U.S. President Donald Trump that alliance members spend more to meet spending targets.

He was casual and familiar with the troops, joking around at a spaghetti dinner and admiring the armoured vehicles and equipment they had laid out to showcase for him.

But on Tuesday, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg emphasized the alliance's new mission in Iraq would not be combat focused, but will still aid the country in curbing the re-emergence of the Islamic State. Canada is stepping up.

The United States and Canada to significantly increase its military presence in Europe. We do have disagreements.

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

"This need not presage a darker time, like Rome's withdrawal from Britain, but more will be required of the world's other free countries".

- with reporting from Lee Berthiaume in Ottawa.

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