MANILA, Philippines – Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says Canada will do “more than its part” and remain a strong member of the campaign against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant.
Trudeau and U.S. President Barack Obama spoke to reporters Thursday at the Asia Pacific Economic Co-operation leaders’ summit in Manila following their first formal meeting since Trudeau took office earlier this month.
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Trudeau has promised to withdraw Canada’s CF-18 fighter jets from the U.S.-led coalition bombing militants in Syria and Iraq and replace them with a more robust force of military trainers on the ground in Iraq.
Asia-Pacific leaders are calling on governments to urgently increase co-operation in the fight against terrorism. Trudeau said Canada will keep doing “more than its part” to defend against ISIL.
A copy of a declaration that the leaders will issue following their talks, seen by The Associated Press, said they “strongly condemn all acts, methods, and practices of terrorism.”
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The leaders said they are stressing the “urgent need for increased international co-operation and solidarity in the fight against terrorism” and would not allow terrorism to “threaten the fundamental values that underpin our free and open economies.”
Trudeau and Obama have been fellow travellers for much of this past week where they’ve met at this summit in the Philippines and the previous G20 gathering in Turkey.
In addition to the war against Islamic militants, the two leaders were also expected to discuss the refugee crisis, transpacific trade and climate change.
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Trudeau has promised to consult with Canadians and Parliament on the 12-country TPP trade pact, but Obama told APEC leaders this week he wants the pact finalized as quickly as possible.
Obama rejected the Keystone XL pipeline project earlier this month, saying he had environmental concerns about approving the transport of dirty oil from Alberta across the United States.
Trudeau and Obama are on the same page on bringing Syrian refugees to their countries and working together to push reluctant countries to adopt a binding climate change agreement at the upcoming international summit in Paris.
Obama added that the prime minister is a “great boost of energy” for Canada’s political landscape. He said he has invited Trudeau for a White House visit that will hopefully come early next year.
On the refugee issue, Trudeau and Obama are on the same page on bringing Syrian refugees to their countries despite security concerns that have surfaced since the attacks in France last week that killed 129 people.
Obama reiterated that tourists pose more of a threat than refugees in the United States and are “heavily screened.”
Trudeau pledged during the recent federal election campaign that Canada would accept 25,000 Syrian refugees by the end of the year
Obama also announced that Trudeau will pay his first visit to Washington, likely early in the new year, “so we can have a more extensive expanded bilateral.”
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“I’m sure Michelle’s going to want to visit with Canada’s new first lady so we are going to be looking for a date for that to happen,” said Obama.
Trudeau said he looked forward to visiting the White House.
“I certainly know that my wife Sophie is going to very excited to hear about Michelle’s garden because she has started a vegetable garden as well in our backyard,” said Trudeau.
“It’s going to be a wonderful time of strengthening ties between our two countries both on the economic, on the security, on the engagement with the world and on the personal level.”
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The 54-year-old president also told the story of his congratulatory phone call to Trudeau after his election win.
Obama told Trudeau he had no grey hair when he took office seven years ago.
“If you don’t want to grey like me you need to start dying it soon,” Obama recalled telling Trudeau.
Trudeau replied: “So young, and yet so cynical.”
© 2015 The Canadian Press