Canada excluded from anti-ISIS coalition meeting

2016-01-19 22:55


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Toronto - Canada has been excluded from a meeting of defence ministers in Paris this week to discuss the fight against Islamic State militants.

US Defence Secretary Ash Carter didn't mention Canada last week in a speech in Fort Campbell, Kentucky when he said he would meet defence ministers from nations who are playing a significant role in the coalition.

Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan tried to suggest it wasn't a big deal on Tuesday, saying this isn't the only meeting.

The Obama administration did not immediately comment on Tuesday.

Carter said ministers from the Netherlands, France, Australia, Germany, Italy and the UK will take part in the talks on Wednesday. The US has asked coalition members to boost their military contributions in Iraq and Syria against ISIS after the deadly terrorist attack in Paris in November.

But new Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has vowed to remove Canada's six fighter jets from the mission. Trudeau has said allies understand Canada will step up military training: Canada has had 69 special forces soldiers in a training role in Northern Iraq with the Kurds. A Canadian soldier was killed by Kurdish fighters in a friendly-fire incident last year.

The Canadian mission includes six CF-18 fighter jets, a refuelling tanker aircraft, two surveillance planes and one airlift aircraft, with about 600 airmen and airwomen based in Kuwait. The Canadian jets continue to participate in airstrikes.

Australia has six jet fighters based in Dubai flying missions against ISIS targets. It also has soldiers in non-combat roles in the Iraqi capital of Baghdad. The Netherlands has four fighter jets in the mission while Germany is not involved in airstrikes.

Canada's opposition Conservative party noted the previous Conservative government hosted an anti-ISIS coalition meeting last July. "Canada is deliberately being excluded because of this Liberal government's decision to withdraw our CF-18s from the mission against ISIS," the party said.

Read more on:    isis  |  canada

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