Canada won’t extend peacekeeping mission in Mali, Freeland says – National


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OTTAWA — The Trudeau authorities is not going to lengthen Canada’s peacekeeping mission in Mali regardless of a direct attraction from the United Nations for it to remain longer to forestall a niche within the provision of lifesaving medical evacuations.

Chatting with reporters on the finish of a significant peacekeeping convention in New York, International Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland stated Canada dedicated the navy to being in Mali for one 12 months — and that’s what it would do.

READ MORE: Canadian peacekeepers in Mali challenged by geography, shifting violence

“It’s important for us to maintain our phrase,” she stated. “To maintain our phrase to Canadians. To maintain our phrase to the UN. To maintain our phrase to companions world wide. And to maintain our phrase to Mali. And that’s precisely what we have now accomplished.

“We stated we’d be in Mali for a 12 months, and that’s a dedication that we are going to hold.”

WATCH: After assault in Mali kills eight U.N. peacekeepers, Sajjan provides no specifics on Canadian troops

But the choice is unlikely to sit down properly with the UN and a few of Canada’s companions in Mali, the place Canadian Forces helicopters present emergency medical evacuations to injured peacekeepers and UN workers since August.

The eight Canadian helicopters and 250 navy personnel in Mali are scheduled to stop operations on July 31, however their Romanian replacements received’t be able to take over till mid-October.

Through the opening session of Friday’s peacekeeping summit, UN Secretary Common Antonio Guterres praised Canada for main an initiative aimed toward growing the variety of girls peacekeepers deployed world wide.

115 reported killed in attack on Mali village 

Canada pledged $15 million to the so-called Elsie Initiative, a part of a bundle of monetary commitments totalling greater than $45 million for UN applications and peacekeeping missions.

However UN officers had been fervently holding out hope that the Trudeau authorities, which has repeatedly asserted its assist for peacekeeping over time, would comply with their request to increase the Mali mission.

The UN wrote a letter final month by which it requested the federal government “to think about a brief extension of its contribution,” particularly to proceed full operations till Sept. 15 and extra restricted operations till the Romanians arrived.

WATCH: Trudeau visits Canadian troops on peacekeeping mission in Mali

The group had requested for a response by final week, however Canada requested for one more two weeks to think about the request, which appeared to have purchased it time to place off any announcement till after Friday’s peacekeeping summit.

Freeland’s workplace had ignored repeated questions in regards to the UN’s request within the week main as much as the summit.

The Liberals have argued the UN can fill the hole between the departure of the Canadians contingent and arrival of the Romanians with civilian contractors, because it has accomplished previously.

READ MORE: UN formally asks Canada to increase Mali mission previous finish of July to October

They’ve additionally steered Canada is definitely supporting the UN by sticking to its schedule to finish operations on the finish of July, whereas downplaying the UN’s considerations in regards to the hole.

The UN, which has confronted shrinking budgets for peacekeeping, says a brief extension by Canada could be extra value environment friendly on condition that Canada already has the folks and tools in Mali for the mission.

Civilian helicopters additionally aren’t in a position to present the identical stage of complete medical therapy the Canadians are set as much as supply, the UN has stated, and are extra restricted in when and the place they will function.

WATCH: Treacherous circumstances for Canada’s troops in Mali

Critics have pointed to the Liberals’ refusal to increase the Mali mission as emblematic of the federal government’s failure to make good on its bigger promise to assist the UN and peacekeeping.

“We rush to assist Latvia, Ukraine and Iraq, however not Mali,” stated College of Montreal peacekeeping professional Jocelyn Coulon, who suggested Freeland’s predecessor as international affairs minister, Stephane Dion.

“It is a betrayal of the peacekeeping coverage this authorities adopted in the summertime 2016. … Why is it so tough to assist bridge the hole between Canada and Romania in Mali for 2 months?”

Freeland insisted there’s a “actual appreciation for Canada’s energetic engagement in peacekeeping right here from the UN and from our accomplice nations,” including the federal government is working with Romania to make sure a easy handover.

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