Toronto: Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird visited Baghdad to meet with government officials and discuss the critical humanitarian and security situation in Iraq. He was joined by an all-party delegation consisting of Paul Dewar, Member of Parliament for Ottawa Centre, and Marc Garneau, Member of Parliament for Westmount-Ville-Marie.
In meetings with Iraqi President Fuad Masum and Iraqi Foreign Affairs Minister Hoshyar Zebari, Baird discussed the situation regarding the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) and Canada’s commitment to provide assistance to the thousands of Iraqis, including Yezidis and Christians, who desperately need it.
“I’m here in Iraq to demonstrate Canada’s commitment to Iraq’s stability, security, and prosperity,” Baird said. “ISIL’s barbaric and expansionist advance in Syria and Iraq is further destabilizing the region and poses a very real threat to not only regional but also global security. Canada has taken action with the government of Iraq and our allies to counter ISIL’s activities.”
Baird also called on Iraqi leaders to come together and govern for all Iraqis, regardless of religious and ethnic background, and announced further funding for security measures.
“Canada will not stand idly by while ISIL continues to murder innocent civilians, including members of ethnic and religious minorities,” added Baird. “Canada will make an additional contribution of $15 million to support security measures. We will continue to monitor the situation, and provide further assistance as needed.”
This contribution includes $10 million in non-lethal security assistance to provide equipment such as helmets, body armour and logistics support vehicles to security forces in Iraq combatting ISIL. It also includes $5 million to support regional efforts to limit the movement of foreign fighters into Iraq and Syria.”
To help in the delivery of critical military supplies from contributing allies to security forces in Iraq fighting ISIL, Canada has deployed a Royal Canadian Air Force CC-130J Hercules and a CC-177 Globemaster, along with their crews of about 30 Canadian Armed Forces personnel. This measure is in addition to the $5 million humanitarian assistance package Canada has already provided to the country.