The Honourable Mélanie Joly, Minister of Foreign Affairs, concluded her trip to Europe, where she participated in the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) Foreign Ministers’ Meeting in Riga, Latvia, and the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) Ministerial Council Meeting in Stockholm, Sweden.
These meetings provided the Minister with an opportunity to advance shared priorities, including upholding the rules-based international order, advancing security and stability of the Euro-Atlantic region, protecting and promoting democracy, and increasing gender equality, diversity and inclusion.
While in Latvia, Minister Joly visited Camp Ādaži alongside Jens Stoltenberg, Secretary General of NATO, and Artis Pabriks, Latvia’s Minister of Defence. She thanked Canadian and Allied troops contributing to the Canada-led enhanced Forward Presence Battle Group Latvia. Minister Joly also met with the Prime Minister of Latvia and with her Latvian counterpart, to acknowledge our excellent bilateral relationship.
At the NATO meeting, Minister Joly reiterated Canada’s unwavering support for the Alliance, which plays an essential role in transatlantic security. The Minister engaged in key discussions on the preparation of NATO’s new Strategic Concept, on lessons learned in Afghanistan, and on challenges in the Black Sea region and the Western Balkans.
Minister Joly continued her multilateral discussions at the OSCE Ministerial Council meeting, where she reiterated the important role democracies play in standing up to the actions of authoritarian regimes. She highlighted the troubling ongoing human rights abuses in Belarus, along with its instrumentalization of migrants, and expressed concern regarding the conflict between Armenia and Azerbaijan.
Throughout her trip, Minister Joly underscored Canada’s deep concern with the recent build-up of Russian troops and equipment in and around Ukraine in addition to accompanying hybrid tactics. The Minister called on Russia to reduce tensions, cease these actions and uphold its OSCE and other international commitments.
“I am pleased I was able to join my counterparts in Europe during my first overseas trip as Minister of Foreign Affairs. During these meetings, my counterparts and I engaged in constructive dialogue and explored ways we could work together to protect the stability and peace of the Euro-Atlantic region. There is much work ahead for the international community, but our unity and resolve will help us address our shared security challenges.”
– Mélanie Joly, Minister of Foreign Affairs
The Minister met over 30 of her counterparts from Armenia, Belgium, Croatia, Estonia, Germany, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Norway, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Ukraine and the United Kingdom as well as with NATO’s Secretary General and the OSCE’s Secretary General.
Canada’s contributions to NATO demonstrate our unwavering commitment to the Alliance, and strengthen Allied capacity to respond to the evolving security environment.
Currently, Canada is:
o Leading the multinational NATO eFP Battle Group in Latvia;
o Periodically deploying CF-18 fighter aircraft to conduct surveillance and air policing activities in Europe (including in the Black Sea);
o Commanding the Standing NATO Maritime Group One, with HMCS FREDERICTON as the Flagship. We also deploy a frigate on a continual basis to the Standing NATO Maritime Groups.
o Continuing to support training and capacity building efforts in the Middle East, including through NATO Mission Iraq; and,
o Deploying personnel to Kosovo.