Baird Wraps Up Visit to Croatia, Calls for Coordinated and Robust Response to Situation in Ukraine

August 29, 2014 - Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird today concluded his first official visit to Croatia, where strengthening international security, advancing freedom and democracy and promoting strong economies were key themes of discussion.

During his visit, Baird met with with Vesna Pusić, First Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign and European Affairs, and Ante Kotromanović, Minister of Defence. Their talks quickly turned to the escalating crisis in Ukraine—more specifically to the mounting evidence of an intervention by Russian forces in southeastern Ukraine.

“The invasion of Russian forces in areas of eastern Ukraine represents a significant threat to the security and prosperity of all of Europe,” said Baird. “This escalation has echoes of the illegal annexation of Crimea and cannot be ignored. Canada is working with like-minded partners and NATO allies, such as Croatia, to make it clear that Russia’s reckless actions must stop and that failure to do so will result in even further economic and political isolation from the international community.”

Discussions in Croatia also focused on the positive and growing bilateral, trade and investment relationship between Canada and Croatia. In a meeting with members of the Croatian business community, Baird highlighted the many advantages of the Canada-EU trade agreement, noting that it would set the stage for Croatia to become an even more attractive destination for Canadian investment, especially in the oil and gas sector, where Canada has particular expertise.

“Canada looks forward to further strengthening trade and investment ties with Croatia, the newest EU member state,” said Baird. “The benefits of the Canada-EU trade agreement are clear for Canada and the European Union: it will create more jobs and opportunities, leading to long-term prosperity and growth.”

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