Baird to Travel to Europe for Talks on Security and Prosperity

June 24, 2014 - Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird today announced that he will attend the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) foreign ministers meeting in Brussels on June 24 and 25. Baird will then travel to Finland and Sweden for bilateral meetings on June 26 and 27.

At the NATO meeting, Baird will underscore Canada’s commitment to working with its allies and partners on further enhancing security and stability in Ukraine and the region in the face of Russian destabilization and provocation. He will also have the opportunity to meet with many counterparts on the margins of the foreign ministers meeting, including Ukraine’s new foreign minister, Pavlo Klimkin.

“Together with our allies, Canada is sending a clear message to President Putin: that we remain united in our support for Ukraine and we will not stand by and watch as Russia continues to employ provocative and destabilizing actions,” said Baird. “President Putin must now step up and engage in genuine negotiations with Ukraine on a peace plan to end the violence and call upon armed separatists to lay down their weapons.”

While in Finland, Baird will meet with President Sauli Niinistö and Foreign Minister Erkki Tuomioja. Baird will also meet with Arctic officials and business leaders to advance Canada-Finland Arctic cooperation.

“Canada and Finland have a long history of collaboration on Arctic issues,” said Baird. “As chair of the Arctic Council, Canada continues to work with its Arctic partners to advance our shared priorities for the people of the North at this important time in the history of the circumpolar region.”

In Sweden, Minister Baird will promote trade and investment relations with Sweden’s trade minister and industry leaders. The Minister will end his visit by meeting with Swedish Foreign Minister Carl Bildt, with discussions focused on a number of areas of cooperation, including the situation in Ukraine, the Arctic and free trade.

“Canada and Sweden are aligned on many fronts, and I look forward to enhancing our cooperation at this pivotal time for Europe,” said Baird. “Canada has a strong desire to see a prosperous and secure Europe that is free from intimidating actors who seek to redraw its borders.”

This is the Minister’s fifth visit to the region in recent months, where he has been meeting with key allies to promote a coordinated approach on how to address the situation in Ukraine.

Under the leadership of Prime Minister Stephen Harper, Canada continues to be at the forefront of the international community’s response to Russian aggression while helping Ukraine stabilize its economy, consolidate its democracy and support civic engagement.

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