Canada and the Middle East and North Africa
Canada values its connections with the countries of the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) and their unique historical, linguistic and cultural heritages.
We cooperate with MENA countries as a member of:
- Gulf Cooperation Council
- Global Coalition against Daesh
- La Francophonie
- International Syria Support Group
Canada works with partners across the region to promote peace, stability and economic opportunity.
Canada's priorities in the region
Our priorities in the Middle East and North Africa are:
- saving lives and alleviating suffering, especially for vulnerable civilians, refugees and displaced people
- combating terrorism and violent extremism and the spread of weapons of mass destruction
- promoting respect for human rights, including women's rights and the rights of religious minorities
- increasing food security
- improving opportunities for children and youth and empowering women
- encouraging democratic practices and institutions and respect for the rule of law
- advocating for economic reforms and increasing two-way investment and trade
Response to the crisis in Syria
To address the crises in Syria and Iraq, and their effects on Jordan and Lebanon, Canada has invested $2 billion to enhance regional security and stabilization, to provide vital humanitarian assistance to those in need, and to help host communities build resilience in the face of conflict.
Between November 4, 2015, and June 30, 2017, the Government of Canada, working with Canadians, resettled nearly 47,000 Syrian refugees in communities across Canada. Canada has also resettled more than 23,000 refugees from Iraq. By the end of 2017, Canada will welcome approximately 1,200 vulnerable Yazidi women and children and other survivors of Daesh and their families.
Operation IMPACT is the Canadian Armed Forces' (CAF) contribution to the Global Coalition against Daesh.
Development and humanitarian assistance
Canadian development assistance in the Middle East and North Africa supports efforts to:
- fight poverty
- strengthen good governance
- make communities affected by the region's conflicts more resilient
Canada works with Egypt, Iraq, Tunisia and Morocco as development partners in the region, and contributes to the Deauville Partnership’s MENA Transition Fund, administered by the World Bank.
In the West Bank and Gaza, Canada’s development assistance supports diplomatic efforts to bring about a law-based, peaceful and prosperous society. Ultimately, this society can become a state for the Palestinians and a stable and secure neighbour for Israel.
In addition to responding to the crisis in Syria and Iraq, Canada is funding humanitarian-assistance efforts in Yemen, Libya, and the West Bank and Gaza.
Trade and economic relations
Over the past decade and a half, Canada has greatly increased its trade presence in the Middle East. Growth in exports and imports with the region exceed Canada’s growth in trade overall.
Canada has Free Trade Agreements with Israel and Jordan and 4 Foreign Investment Promotion and Protection Agreements with countries in the region (Egypt, Jordan, Kuwait, and Lebanon).
Peacekeeping and security
Canada has contributed to international efforts to end conflicts in the Middle East going back to the Suez Crisis in 1954 and the earliest UN peacekeeping missions.
In Iraq, West Bank and Gaza, the Sinai Peninsula of Egypt and the Arabian Sea, Canadian forces are working to combat terrorism and improve security.
Canada's armed forces have 6 active operations in the Middle East.
- Canada's Middle East engagement strategy
- #WelcomeRefugees: Canada resettled Syrian refugees
- Global Coalition against Daesh
- Canadian Armed Forces Operations in the Middle East
- Trade and investment agreements
- Canada–Gulf Cooperation Council Strategic Dialogue
- Secretariat General of the Gulf Cooperation Council
- Canadian policy on key issues in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict
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