MANILA: Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Thursday vowed to remain a “strong” partner in the international fight against the Islamic State group, while indicating he would make no u-turn on pulling fighter jets out of Iraq and Syria.
“Canada will and must remain a strong member of the coalition,” Trudeau said after a meeting with US President Barack Obama on the sidelines of a trade summit in Manila.
In line with a campaign pledge, the newly elected Trudeau has vowed to bring home Canadian warplanes deployed in Iraq and Syria, without setting a specific timeframe.
Instead, Canada has said it will ramp up its commitment to training forces fighting the violent Islamist group, leaving an even greater proportion of the air campaign to the United States and other allies.
Canada last year deployed 69 military trainers to northern Iraq to train Kurdish militia, as well as six CF-18 fighter jets that have conducted 1,121 sorties in Iraq and Syria as of November 15.
Parliament in March voted to extend the mission by one year, but Trudeau has vowed to cut it short.
At the same time Trudeau has vowed to press ahead with plans to bring 25,000 Syrian refugees to Canada by year’s end, despite growing opposition over security concerns following last week’s deadly IS-claimed Paris attacks.
Trudeau had pledged during the recent election campaign to resettle refugees now living in camps in Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey by January 1.
Since taking office, he has mobilized several government ministries to meet the goal in such a short time.