Feds weigh­ing fu­ture role in Iraq: Sa­j­jan

Lethbridge Herald - - HEADLINE NEWS ✦ WEATHER -

De­fence Min­is­ter Har­jit Sa­j­jan pledged Canada’s en­dur­ing sup­port for Iraq and the war against Is­lamic State group on Thurs­day — but stopped short of ex­tend­ing Canada’s mil­i­tary mis­sion in the re­gion, most of which is set to ex­pire next spring.

Rather, af­ter host­ing a meet­ing with rep­re­sen­ta­tives from more than a dozen coun­tries to dis­cuss the fu­ture of Iraq and Syria and plot next steps in the ef­fort to de­stroy ISIL (also known as ISIS), Sa­j­jan said the gov­ern­ment con­tin­ues to weigh Canada’s long-term role in the re­gion.

“To­day, we reaf­firmed our fo­cus on the en­dur­ing de­feat of ISIS’s own net­work of for­eign ter­ror­ist fighters, fi­nanc­ing and pro­pa­ganda,” the min­is­ter said in a state­ment af­ter the meet­ing at a gov­ern­ment-owned es­tate on Meech Lake, near Ot­tawa.

“Mov­ing for­ward, the coali­tion’s con­tin­ued col­lab­o­ra­tion and part­ner­ship re­mains cru­cial, and the strate­gic ad­vice and di­rec­tion pro­vided dur­ing this morn­ing’s meet­ing will be es­sen­tial in shap­ing our next steps to­ward win­ning this fight.”

The com­ments came shortly af­ter Canada’s top gen­eral told a par­lia­men­tary com­mit­tee that while progress has been made in the fight against ISIL, it’s still too early to say when Cana­dian sol­diers might no longer be needed in Iraq.

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