Canada offers to lead new NATO operation in Iraq

Published 07-11-2018

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BRUSSELS (AP) – Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says his country is offering to lead NATO's new military training mission in Iraq for the first year and stands ready to provide 250 troops plus helicopters for the effort.

Trudeau said Wednesday that it is important to help build the conflict-ravaged country's resilience against the Islamic State group.

Speaking at a German Marshall Fund event on the sidelines of a NATO summit in Brussels, Trudeau said that "we have to build that democracy and strengthen it," and doing so "is something that we believe in deeply."

NATO leaders are expected to announce later Wednesday that the alliance is stepping up its troop training and military academy building effort in Iraq, with hundreds of trainers operating out of the capital, Baghdad.

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Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, left, speaks to a Latvian soldier as he inspects the troops as he visits Adazi Military Base in Kadaga, Latvia, on Tuesday, July 10, 2018. Canadian prime minister says he hopes the upcoming NATO summit will send a message of broad support for unity and solidarity but acknowledges that there will "no doubt be calls for greater investments in defense spending" - a key issue that is badly dividing the military alliance. (AP Photo/Roman Koksarov) - The Associated Press


Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, center, arrives for a summit of heads of state and government at NATO headquarters in Brussels on Wednesday, July 11, 2018. NATO leaders gather in Brussels for a two-day summit to discuss Russia, Iraq and their mission in Afghanistan. (AP Photo/Francois Mori) - The Associated Press