Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan visits Iraq

Canada's Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan paid a visit Sunday to northern Iraq, where he met local government officials.

Trip comes days after CF-18s help beat back ISIS offensive

Canadian Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan walks with Kurdish Interior Minister Karim Sinjari, right, and Kurdish Foreign Minister Falah Mustafa Bakir, left, after arriving in Erbil in northern Iraq. (Kurdistan regional government, department of foreign relations)

Canada's Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan paid a visit Sunday to northern Iraq, where he met local government officials.

Sajjan thanked the Iraqi defence minister for welcoming him.

"During our meeting we discussed the security issues and the operation on the ground, and found the points in which Canada can play a role, as a partner in the international effort," Sajjan told reporters in Baghdad.

"And from our participation we will have a more active role on the ground in these operations for a better future for Iraq," he said.

Reporters and government workers on the ground in Iraq tweeted several photos of Sajjan arriving in Baghdad and meeting Iraqi Defence Minister Khaled al-Obeidi there. Later on, another photo placed Sajjan in Erbil, in northern Iraq.

Neither the Canadian Department of National Defence nor the Prime Minister's Office would provide details of the trip.

A spokeswoman for Sajjan said Sunday the purpose of the trip was to meet with defence and security officials in the region and visit Canadian military personnel.

It follows news that Canadian special forces and two CF-18s joined other coalition jets in helping Kurdish forces counter a major ISIS offensive last Thursday in northern Iraq.

On Friday, Sajjan said the Canadian government is sticking to its plan to pull the country's CF-18s out of the fight.

Canadian Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan, right, meets with Iraqi Defence Minister Khaled al-Obeidi. (Khaled al-Obeidi Facebook)


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