Trudeau tells G20 leaders Canada will still play active role in terror fight
ANTALYA, Turkey – Prime Minister Justin Trudeau tells G20 leaders that Canada will continue to make a strong military contribution in the fight against Islamic militants — but it won’t be from the air.
Trudeau said his government will follow through on its election campaign commitment to withdraw fighter jets from the coalition mission attacking targets in Iraq and Syria.
He said Canada will concentrate its military contribution on strengthening efforts to train Kurdish fighters in their ground war against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant.
Trudeau said Canadian troops have built up expertise in such training, especially from the war in Afghanistan.
“We will continue to engage robustly with the coalition,” Trudeau said Monday at the close of the G20 summit.
Canada now has six CF-18 fighter jets flying missions against ISIL.
Trudeau called ISIL a “scourge” as he condemned Friday’s terror attack in Paris and a previous incident in Turkey during a dinner Sunday night at the Turkish resort of Antalya, where the G20 was meeting.
“He told his colleagues that Canada has been an active member of the coalition and will continue to be, but will evaluate how we can best contribute,” Cameron Ahmad, Trudeau’s spokesman, said in an email.
Details of the comments at the dinner, which focused on the fight against ISIL and the refugee crisis, were released by Trudeau’s office on Monday.
The international aid agency Oxfam said the G20 made progress in tackling the refugee crisis.
“The G20’s commitment to a bold new deal for refugees — ensuring their right to work, to access health care and education and provide safe and legal routes to other countries — could make a huge difference to the lives of millions of people,” said Steve Price-Thomas, Oxfam’s deputy advocacy director.
“The real work begins now, translating these words into action over the next weeks and months.”
Ahmad said Trudeau opened his address by “saluting once again the courage and resilience of the people of Paris and particularly their colleague Francois Hollande, who continues to show strength and resolve and an unwillingness to succumb to terror.”
The prime minister met French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius on Monday and offered continuing solidarity with France.
Trudeau’s office said the two pledged to work together for “an ambitious outcome” to the international climate change summit that will take place in Paris later this month, albeit under heightened security.
Fabius was standing in at the summit for Hollande, who remained in France to respond to Friday’s attacks, which he called an act of war. Prior to the Trudeau meeting, Fabius defended France’s decision to launch retaliatory air strikes on ISIL in Raqqa, Syria.
He said the French response was a “political” one and that France had to be “present and active” following Friday’s violence, which left 129 people dead.
Trudeau and his fellow G20 leaders faced calls for a firm response to the Paris attacks, which largely overshadowed the economic agenda of the G20.
Trudeau also held bilateral meetings Monday with German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi.
— with files from the Associated Press_