Trudeau extends, expands Latvia peacekeeping mission

Woman who accused Canadian PM Justin Trudeau of ‘groping,’ ‘inappropriate handling’ breaks silence

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.

Canada does have a plan to increase its defence spending over the next 10 years, he stressed - a plan that his government's own projections show will only reach 1.4 per cent of GDP by 2024. "We would like Russian Federation to get back to normality", Sajjan told The Canadian Press in January during a joint interview with Latvian Defence Minister Raimonds Bergmanis.

Meanwhile, Latvian Prime Minister Maris Kucinskis said that this decision by the Canadian side "is the ideal gift to Latvia on its centenary".

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. "But most importantly we have decisions that are pushing this alliance forward and making us stronger", Xinhua quoted NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg as saying during a press conference at the end of the first day of the NATO Summit taking place in Brussels.

The prime minister is expected to use the occasion to reaffirm Canada's commitment to North Atlantic Treaty Organisation and attempt to fend off criticism about defence spending raised last month by U.S. President Donald Trump, highlighting instead Canada's military presence and infrastructure dedicated to the alliance.

There's a big target, however, painted on Trudeau's back.

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"This NATO mission in Iraq is about having mostly won the war against (the Islamic State group) and now is the time that it is absolutely essential to secure and to win the peace".

"Will they reimburse the USA?"

"My instinct is that acquiring a capacity to strike harder and further and the need to give our country and our armed forces greater protection could soon require military spending well beyond two per cent of GDP", Mr Abbott said.

Asked directly whether Canada plans to meet the two per cent target, Trudeau said simply that there are no plans to double Canada's defence budget, which now stands at around $20 billion a year. However, the increased commitment by the alliance in Iraq could be a major step in that direction. Canada isn't meeting an informal alliance target for member states to devote at least 2 percent of their economic output to defense spending.

Note to readers: This is a corrected story.

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