U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry says he is waiting to hear more about Canada's plan to contribute to the fight against ISIS in Iraq and Syria, but that he is confident Canada will make a "significant contribution" to the U.S.-led coalition.
"I look forward in the next weeks to the prime minister's indication to us of what the plan going forward will be," Kerry said following a meeting of the three North American foreign ministers Friday. "We have confidence that Canada will continue to make a significant contribution."
Foreign Minister Stéphane Dion, Mexico's Secretary of Foreign Affairs Claudia Ruiz Massieu and Kerry spoke to reporters after holding meetings in Quebec City.
Referring to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's decision to pull CF-18 fighter jets out of the mission, Kerry said Canada has played an important role on both a military and humanitarian front in the coalition thus far.
"While they may have made a choice with respect to one particular component of that effort, that does not reflect on the overall commitment or the capacity to contribute significantly to the road ahead, and we are confident that they can," he said.
Dion said the pair discussed Canada's contribution to the fight and said talks would continue in Rome next week with coalition partners. "The goal for Canada is to redeploy our efforts in a way that will be optimal, very effective, more effective than today in some ways, in order to ensure that we will be strong in our fight against … the so-called Islamic State," he said.
Dion said the ministers discussed six key areas where they will commit to working together:
- They agreed to conduct an inventory of their respective efforts to combat climate change and present to leaders what each country was already doing in time for the next so-called three amigos summit in the spring.
- The ministers said they wanted to see a speedy resolution to the uncertainty unfolding in Haiti's presidential election and would work together to promote the peace process in Colombia.
- Dion said that all three countries agreed to encourage their health ministers to work together and with the World Health Organization to help combat the outbreak of the Zika virus.
- The three also discussed what they could do to improve security, clamp down on human trafficking and fight terrorism in the Middle East.
- Dion said they will work together to improve labour mobility between the three countries and work to improve the empowerment of women in North America.
- Dion also promised that Canada would finally resolve the travel restrictions imposed on Mexican travellers.
"Our prime minister wants the relationship between Canada and Mexico to be a solid one," Dion said in French. "A visa is not necessary. Our prime minister wants the visa to be eliminated."
Environment and the economy
Speaking about climate change, Kerry seemed to echo the remarks of Canadian Environment Minister Catherine McKenna in Ottawa earlier in the day by linking economic growth with environmental sustainability.
"Pursuing our climate goals is not a competition of the environment or economic development, it is economic development through wise, sustainable, environmental policies," he said.