Canada's North Atlantic Treaty Organisation troops will stay in Latvia for another four years - Trudeau

14 Juillet, 2018, 02:01 | Auteur: Anatole Charbonneau
  • Canadian soldiers from India Company enhanced Forward Presence Battle Group Latvia during an exercise near Skrunda Latvia

Questioned repeatedly about Trump's attacks on European allies and Canada, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg acknowledged the trans-Atlantic differences but refused to say whether the U.S. leader's attacks are damaging the alliance.

According to the CBC, Canada will spend 1.23 percent of its GDP on defense in 2018, down from 1.36 percent past year. I want to be clear: "we are absolutely committed to the protection of our allies and global peace and security", Trudeau said at a news conference following his talks with Latvian Prime Minister Maris Kucinskis.

But despite its on-the-ground presence in North Atlantic Treaty Organisation missions like Latvia, Canada and other countries have faced USA pressure to meet the alliance's target of spending two per cent of GDP on defence and 20 per cent of defence budgets on equipment - targets member states agreed to at a summit in Wales in 2014.

The Canadian military has had a presence in Iraq since September 2014, when several dozen special forces were deployed to the country as part of a US -led coalition to help local Kurdish forces beat off an ISIL offensive that threatened to overwhelm the country.

The Canadian-led battle group is one of four in the region, and includes troops from Albania, the Czech Republic, Italy, Poland, Slovakia, Slovenia and Spain.

In June, Canada announced that its 210-strong special forces contingent in Iraq would no longer provide training support for Iraqi Kurdish peshmerga fighters.

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The addition of those costs, which many other countries have long included in their own calculations, added approximately $4.4 billion to Canada's reported defence spending in 2017. With all, Trump believes the U.S.is getting "ripped off" in an unfair marketplace.

"I think it's an important metric, amongst many others, to gauge how countries are doing in terms of contributors to NATO", Trudeau said of the two-per-cent benchmark. A fractured summit would play directly into the hands of Russian President Vladimir Putin, who Trump meets next week in Helsinki.

The 2018 NATO Summit took place in Belgium on Wednesday.

But any increases in military spending will not come as a result of pressure to do so from "people talking about a two per cent goal", he said when asked about Trump, but rather because of a desire to live up to the country's commitments to its military allies around the world.

Few NATO nations have met the 2 percent pledge since the fall of the Soviet Union nearly 30 years ago, and while the alliance has now committed to meeting the target, it will take time for them to deliver.

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