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Canada excluded from anti-Islamic State coalition meeting

Published:Thursday | January 21, 2016 | 12:00 AM
French Defense Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian (centre) gestures next to German Defence Minister Ursula von der Leyen (left) and US Defence Secretary Ash Carter after posing for a picture during a meeting at the Defence Ministry in Paris, France, yesterday.


Canada has been excluded from a meeting of defence ministers in Paris this week to discuss the fight against Islamic State militants. The apparent snub follows new Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's vow that he would remove the country's six fighter jets from the anti-IS coalition and at a time the US is looking for its allies to step up their contributions.

US Defence Secretary Ash Carter didn't mention Canada last week in a speech in Fort Campbell, Kentucky, when he said he would meet defence ministers from nations who are playing a "significant role" in the coalition.

Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan tried to suggest it wasn't a big deal on Tuesday, saying this isn't the only meeting.

Ministers from the Netherlands, France, Australia, Germany, Italy and Britain will take part in the talks yesterday.

Carter wasn't asked about Canada by reporters on the flight to Paris, but he was asked about the lack of any Arab representation at the meeting. In response Carter said that this was a gathering of countries that have been the most active in Iraq and Syria. He said other nations have made contributions and will continue to do so, but this meeting was not designed to exclude anyone, "it's to get more ideas for how we can do more."

The US has asked coalition members to boost their military contributions in Iraq and Syria against IS after the deadly attacks in Paris in November.