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Canada extends leadership of North Atlantic Treaty Organisation battlegroup in Latvia for four years

Canada extends leadership of North Atlantic Treaty Organisation battlegroup in Latvia for four years

"Since NATO's creation in 1949, Canada has played a strong and active role in missions to advance people and security for our citizens and people around the world", Trudeau said in a statement.

I want to be clear: "we are absolutely committed to the protection of our allies and global peace and security", Trudeau said at a news conference following his talks with Latvian Prime Minister Maris Kucinskis. And the $40-million cost of Canada's training efforts in Iraq will come from previously approved funds, one senior official said, speaking on condition of anonymity given the sensitivity of the talks.

The prime minister is expected to use the extension to defend Canada from criticism from Trump that America's northern neighbour is not spending enough on defence.

"The Trump-Putin summit could potentially aggravate USA allies who want to isolate Putin", said Jayson Derow, a research analyst at the NATO Association of Canada.

The new defence policy represents an increase of more than 70% of Canada's defence budget between 2016 and 2026, and will give Canada's armed forces the capability to be even more active beyond its borders, and expand its active leadership in North Atlantic Treaty Organisation.

Under Operation IMPACT, the Canadian Armed Forces is already providing training and assistance to the Iraqi security forces and helping regional forces build their capacity.

France, meanwhile, is expected to pledge this week that it will meet the two per cent spending target within the next seven years, while Germany says it will reach 1.5 per cent of GDP by 2024.

Canada will send up to 250 personnel and four Griffin helicopters and make up the bulk of the force for the NATO Western military alliance, beginning this fall.

Some see the controversial meeting as an undermining of the alliance itself, considering some of NATO's active military missions - including the one in Latvia - were undertaken in direct response to Russia's escalating aggression in the Baltic region.

Canada will extend its military influence in Latvia for 4 further years.

The Canadian military has had a presence in Iraq since September 2014, when several dozen special forces were deployed to the country as part of a US -led coalition to help local Kurdish forces beat off an ISIL offensive that threatened to overwhelm the country.

"My message is that we are actually now stepping up", Stoltenberg said.

Note to readers: This is a corrected story.

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