Minister Baird Concludes Successful Visit to the Gulf Region

(No. 351 - November 22, 2011 - 10:20 a.m. ET) Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird today concluded a highly successful visit to the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Kuwait, where he took part in discussions about important developments in the Middle East and North Africa region.

In the UAE for the Sir Bani Yas Forum, Baird met with his counterpart Sheikh Abdallah Bin Zayed alNahyan. They discussed the mutually beneficial relationship between our two countries—one that is strong and getting ever stronger based on solid commercial ties and a growing number of people-to-people ties.

At the Forum, participants discussed a range of regional issues.

In Kuwait, Baird continued the progress made by G-8 leaders at Deauville, France, earlier this year as part of the G-8/Broader Middle East North Africa (BMENA) Forum for the Future.

The Forum focused on the challenges facing the Middle East and North Africa. “Canada will continue to support people who are seeking to bring freedom, democracy, human rights and the rule of law to their respective countries,” said Baird.

At both events, Baird stressed the need for religious freedoms to be respected and for women to be given central roles in the region’s emerging democracies.

“Canada will continue to protect Canada’s interests and promote Canadians’ values around the world. Religious freedoms and the role of women in civil society are two incredibly important features to safeguard in these new and emerging democracies,” said Baird.

- 30 -

For further information, media representatives may contact:

Foreign Affairs Media Relations Office
Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada
Follow us on Twitter: @DFAIT_MAECI