Politics

John Baird says world must support fight against 'toxic' ISIS

Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird told the United Nations Security Council Friday that Canada will continue to support the fight against the Islamic insurgent group ISIS, which he called a "real threat" to global security.
Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird will make a brief address to a UN Security Council meeting Friday on the fight against ISIS in Iraq.

Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird told the United Nations Security Council Friday that Canada will continue to support the fight against the Islamic insurgent group ISIS, which he called a "real threat" to global security.

"We must work together, to each of our strengths and abilities. For Canada's part, we are supporting Iraqi forces on the front line against (ISIS) with the deployment of advisers and the delivery of equipment," Baird said in his four-minute address.

Canada is also funding efforts to stem the flow of foreign fighters in the region, Baird told council members.

"And we are, of course, assisting with urgent humanitarian efforts."

Baird welcomed the American leadership on confronting ISIS and called on others in the region to "face up to a new generation of terrorism."

"(ISIS) is more of a terrorist army than the traditional image of an isolated cell of extremists. It is the toxic mix of medieval ideology with modern weaponry," he said.

Speaking earlier, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry told the council that the "evil" of ISIS requires "a holistic global campaign that is committed and capable of degrading and destroying" it.

"The coalition required to eliminate ISIL is not only, or even primarily, military in nature. It must be comprehensive and include close collaboration across multiple lines of effort," Kerry said, calling ISIS "a militant cult masquerading as a religious movement."

"The fact is, there is a role for every country in the world to play, including Iran, who is here with us today," he said.

Asked about Iran later by reporters, Baird didn't waver from Canada's tough stance.

"Canada has designated Iran as a state sponsor of terrorism. It's involved in a negative way in every single country in the region. It's provided material support to a good number of terrorist organizations around the world and it has not been a force for good. I hope to be proven wrong in this instance."

But, he added, Canada would welcome an Iranian government that "wants to take a different path."

"Obviously, the Iranian people have the huge potential to play a much bigger role, not just in the region but in world affairs, and we look forward to the day when circumstances will allow that," he told reporters.

Military advisers and 'non-lethal' aid

Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced earlier this week that Canada would send 69 Canadian Forces members to advise and help Kurdish Peshmurga forces battle ISIS fighters as part of an international coalition.

Canada has already committed more than $28 million to the humanitarian crisis. The money will help with health needs, shelter and relief supplies.

Canada has also provided $10 million in "non-lethal" security assistance to provide helmets, body armour and logistics support vehicles to security forces in Iraq.

Canada is not a member of the Security Council, but a senior government official told CBC News Baird was invited to speak by the Americans.

"As Canada is a key partner in the international coalition that [U.S.] President [Barack] Obama and Secretary [of State John] Kerry are trying to build, minister Baird has been asked to attend this key meeting of the UN Security Council," the official said.

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