Protecting and Promoting Canada’s Interests and Values in Europe

April 19, 2013 - Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird will travel to Luxembourg, Belgium and the United Kingdom from April 21 to 26, 2013.

On Sunday, Baird will be in Luxembourg for an event co-hosted by Luxembourg’s Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs and Immigration, Jean Asselborn, and the International Peace Institute. Baird and high-level representatives from several countries will be discussing next steps in addressing the Syrian civil war. While in Luxembourg, he will also meet with the European Commissioner for International Cooperation, Humanitarian Aid and Crisis, Kristalina Georgieva, to discuss humanitarian assistance in global crisis zones.

In Brussels, Baird will meet with Belgium’s Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs, Didier Reynders, to discuss Canada’s relations with Belgium and the European Union. He will then participate in a meeting of his counterparts from North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) member states on April 23.

“NATO is a key forum where Canada consistently punches above our weight in a world marked by festering security challenges,” said Baird. “The Alliance brings our closest friends on both sides of the Atlantic together to help make the world safer, and I look forward to addressing with our allies some of the pressing challenges we collectively face.”

Finally, while in London on April 25 and 26, Baird will take part in meetings of the Commonwealth foreign ministers and the Commonwealth Ministerial Action Group (CMAG) to discuss a number of serious and persistent threats to democracy in Commonwealth countries.

The CMAG meeting will provide the Minister with an opportunity to express Canada’s ongoing concerns about Sri Lanka, which is scheduled to act as host of the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting later this year.

“As host of this year’s Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting, Sri Lanka must demonstrate its commitment to the Commonwealth and Canadian core values and principles,” Baird said. “These include freedom, democracy, human rights and the rule of law—values that our diplomats and I promote around the world daily.”

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