Politics

MacKay begins Mideast visit in Israel

Canada's Defence Minister Peter MacKay met with Israeli Defence Minister Ehud Barak in Tel-Aviv on Monday, the first leg of a Middle East visit that will take him to the Palestinian territories and Jordan.

Canadian Defence Minister Peter MacKay met with Israeli Defence Minister Ehud Barak in Tel-Aviv on Monday, the first leg of a Middle East visit that will take him to the Palestinian territories and Jordan.

At Monday's meeting, MacKay and Barak discussed increased military co-operation, including shared technology.

"We're here today to have an opportunity to thank Israel for your support in areas of technological advancement that have helped us in Afghanistan," MacKay said. He said Israel has helped Canada "with our ongoing efforts in Afghanistan."

Israel announced this week it will likely buy firefighting aircraft and other equipment from Canada, following catastrophic bushfires in Israel over the summer. 

The aircraft won't be ready for two years. Until then, Israel will lease firefighting planes, which will be flown by Canadian pilots.

After MacKay's meetings in Israel, he will travel to the West Bank. There he will meet Palestinian officials and also Canadian troops who are training Palestinian security forces.

Next, he will visit Jordan. The trip is scheduled to wrap up on Thursday.

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