Prime Minister Justin Trudeau meets with French President Emmanuel Macron at the Palais de l’Elysee in Paris, France on Monday, April 16, 2018. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick

Justin Trudeau defends peacekeeping mission with French president

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is meeting with French President Emmanuel Macron in Paris

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is defending Canada’s decision to take part in the ongoing UN peacekeeping effort in Mali.

Trudeau is making the remarks alongside Emmanuel Macron following a meeting in Paris with the French president, who has made the African country a priority for his government.

Trudeau says Canada’s new approach to peacekeeping — focusing on promoting roles for women, dealing with child soldiers, focusing on training and more targeted deployment of resources — suits the modern era, which is marked less by well-defined, international conflicts and more by unpredictable perils posed by terrorism and outside actors.

The two countries have also reached bilateral agreements on battling climate change and defending cultural diversity, signed by Environment Minister Catherine McKenna and Heritage Minister Melanie Joly and their French counterparts.

Earlier today, former Governor General Michaelle Jean, now the head of the Francophonie, thanked Trudeau for joining the Mali mission, which is reeling after Sunday’s deadly attack by Islamic militants.

The attack was launched against two bases near Timbuktu, where militants reportedly disguised as peacekeepers set off several suicide bombs and launched rockets at international forces. One peacekeeper was killed and more than a dozen others were injured, including several French soldiers.

Canada is planning to send six military helicopters to Mali later this year to help with medical evacuations and the transporting of supplies and ammunition, although they will be based in a different location than where Sunday’s attack occurred.

Mali is considered the most dangerous peacekeeping mission in the world, with 166 blue helmets killed since 2013, more than half by what the UN calls “malicious acts.”

Jean lamented the attack as she met with Trudeau at the Francophonie’s headquarters in Paris, which the prime minister is visiting this week.

She went on to thank Canada for agreeing to send forces to Mali, which is a former French colony and current member of the Francophonie, adding: “The Sahel region, for Mali and for all of us, is a question of high importance.”

On Tuesday, Trudeau will become the first Canadian prime minister to address the French National Assembly and the most recent leader to be given that rare opportunity since King Felipe of Spain in June 2015.

His speech is expected to touch on the rise of nationalism, populism and xenophobia, which have become serious concerns in France and other parts of Europe in recent years.

Much of the prime minister’s two-day visit will also focus on trade as Canada looks to ease its dependence on the U.S. market.

Trudeau’s message will include highlighting the potential benefits of the new Canada-European Union free trade deal, which came into force in September.

On Tuesday night the prime minister will head to London where he will meet with the Queen and British Prime Minister Theresa May on Wednesday, then attend a meeting of Commonwealth leaders on Thursday.

He returns to Ottawa on Friday.

Related: Trudeau looks to turn page on China, India with next foreign trip

Related: Trans Mountain ‘will be built,’ Trudeau says after meeting with Horgan, Notley

Lee Berthiaume, The Canadian Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Brookswood’s Forsyth back to Langley for basketball meet

The Bobcat alumnus and her team will take on last year’s champs Notre Dame.

Student entrepreneurs spotlighted at Fort Langley event

Take part in a talk on problem-solving, creativity, critical thinking and social responsibility.

Aldergrove hairdressers go wild and crazy

Students show off skills they’ve learned in the career program at ACSS

Langley school pulls Japanese ‘rising sun’ flag after student petition

School district promises consultation with students and parents, defends using flag for war history

UPDATED: Two injured in crash involving SUV and dump truck

Collision closes 264 Street in Langley

Six students arrested, charged in sex assault probe at Toronto all-boys school

The school’s principal, Greg Reeves, described the video of the alleged sexual assault as ‘horrific’

Cyclist defecates, throws own poop at car following B.C. crash

Man defecates in the street before throwing it at a driver locked in her vehicle

Second person dies following head-on collision in Surrey

Paige Nagata of Abbotsford was in crash on Nov. 4 that also killed maternity nurse

11 years sought for Burnaby man who killed girlfriend with hammer, burned her body

Manslaughter sentencing hearing started Monday in Chilliwack for Ryan Armstrong

Jamie Koe, other curlers kicked out of bonspiel for being too drunk

‘You don’t kick around other players’ bags, it’s disrespectful and we expect better of our players’

Homicide victim found under B.C. bridge identified as Hells Angels member

Chad John Wilson was one of four men arrested in Spain in 2013 on allegations of smuggling cocaine.

B.C. Sikh temple vandalized with racist graffiti

Racist graffiti was found on the side of the building this morning

Shots fired near Chicago hospital, multiple victims: police

Police say at least one possible offender has been shot

B.C. to allow Uber-style ride hailing services to operate in late 2019

Fee will be applied to fund options for disabled people

Most Read