Trudeau announces increased support for North Atlantic Treaty Organisation

Canada To Lead NATO Training Mission In Iraq

Instead of new money, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced his country will lead NATO's new military training mission in Iraq, with up to 250 troops.

Last year, the Government of Canada unveiled Strong, Secure, Engaged - a comprehensive, ambitious, once-in-a-generation defence policy which includes historic new funding for Canada's military.

Canada will extend its contribution to NATO's enhanced forward presence battalion, Trudeau added: "Our mission's current mandate ends in 2019".

Also on Trudeau's agenda today: A mid-afternoon one-on-one with Swedish prime minister Stefan Lofven, but, according to his office, no similar get-together with Trump, although before leaving Latvia, he assured reporters before that he "looks forwards to having words" with the president.

The training mission, in the works for at least two years, will be commanded by a Canadian major-general, and Canadian troops will provide the bulk of the headquarters staff.

Trump's "America First" policies have exposed major differences between the USA and many parts of Europe on issues as diverse as climate change, trade and tariff policies, and the Iran nuclear deal that the US leader has rejected.

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Narongsak Osatanakorn, who oversaw the rescue operation , said the boys should not be blamed for their near tragedy. The Canadian, speaking to Reuters a day after the rescue ended, said he had no plans to dive again anytime soon.

On his way to the summit, Trump fired off another Twitter volley: "Many countries in North Atlantic Treaty Organisation, which we are expected to defend, are not only short of their current commitment of two per cent (which is low), but are also delinquent for many years in payments that have not been made". He wrote Trudeau ahead of the summit expressing "growing frustration" with the fact the two per cent target is still not being met by the majority of alliance nations.

"Will they reimburse the US?" Members don't pay dues, although they do contribute to common military and civilian programs - and Washington pays nearly one-quarter of those costs. The commitment was part of the alliance's expansion of the number of trainers from around a dozen now to several hundred operating out of the capital, Baghdad.

In another show of resolve to Russian Federation, the leaders rubber-stamped a plan to ready a crisis response contingent that can be rapidly deployed — 30 battalions, 30 air squadrons and 30 battleships within 30 days.

"The US puts its troops in different parts of Europe and it occurs, including within the processes of rotation, in particular in the Baltic States", - said Stoltenberg.

Note to readers: This is a corrected story.

The prime minister is expected to use the extension to defend Canada from criticism from Trump that America's northern neighbour is not spending enough on defence.

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