Minister Cannon Concludes Successful Visit to Maghreb and Middle East

(No. 316 - October 25, 2009 - 10:45 p.m. EDT) The Honourable Lawrence Cannon, Minister of Foreign Affairs, today concluded a successful visit to Libya, Israel and Saudi Arabia.

While in Tripoli, Minister Cannon met with Prime Minister al-Baghdadi Ali al-Mahmudi and Foreign Minister Musa Kousa. Minister Cannon also participated in a round-table meeting with members of the Canadian business community.

"I was pleased to visit Libya and meet with Prime Minister al-Mahmudi and Minister Kousa to discuss numerous issues of mutual interest that reflect Libya’s role in Africa and the Middle East," said Minister Cannon. "I welcomed this opportunity to broaden the cooperation between our two countries."

Minister Cannon and Prime Minister al-Mahmudi agreed on the need to strengthen relations between Canada and Libya and to address outstanding issues of concern. To this end, they discussed a range of ideas, including the establishment of a strategic bilateral dialogue.

In Israel, Minister Cannon participated in the second annual Israeli Presidential Conference, "Facing Tomorrow." The conference was established in 2008 by Israel’s President Shimon Peres. Minister Cannon also met with President Peres and with Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Avigdor Lieberman.

"Canada’s participation in the conference and my meetings with President Peres and Minister Lieberman allowed us to celebrate the 60th anniversary of Israel-Canada relations," said Minister Cannon. "I was also able to reiterate Canadian support for sustainable peace and security in the region."

President Peres expressed his appreciation to Canada for its steadfast support of Israel. Minister Cannon reaffirmed that Canada stands with Israel against the threat of terrorism and those who denounce the existence of Israel and the Jewish people. The Minister reiterated that both parties must resume direct negotiations and confirmed that if they requested assistance Canada was prepared to comply.

In Saudi Arabia, Minister Cannon met with His Majesty King Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz Al-Saud, as well as with Minister of Foreign Affairs Prince Saud Al Faysal. While in Saudi Arabia, Minister Cannon raised consular issues of concern to Canada, notably the cases of Nathalie Morin and the Kohail brothers who are of Canadian-Palestinian nationality.

"I was pleased to discuss major regional issues of common concern such as Iran, Afghanistan and the Middle East peace process, and to promote Canadian business investments in the area," said Minister Cannon.

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