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Canada Trudeau defends his approach to Mali peacekeeping, and says world supports Canada on China detainees

Justin Trudeau defended his government’s refusal to extend Canada’s mission in Mali, as the prime minister visited peacekeepers in the north of the country on Saturday. The Canadian Press

rime Minister Justin Trudeau defended on Sunday his government’s record when it comes to deciding where to send hundreds of promised Canadian peacekeepers.

The Liberals promised more than two years ago to provide up to 600 Canadian troops to peacekeeping missions as part of a long-standing pledge to reengage with the United Nations.

The prime minister got to see some of those troops in action on Saturday during a whirlwind visit to Mali, where 250 Canadians and eight helicopters have been providing lifesaving medical evacuations and logistical support to UN forces since August.

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The government has yet to fulfil the rest of its commitment, including providing a transport plane to ferry around troops and equipment as well as deploying a 200-strong rapid reaction force to bolster a specific mission.

Trudeau says Canadians expect their government to look at ways to be help in the world, and insists Liberals are looking at ways to fulfil their commitment to the UN.

Trudeau also said on Sunday that Canadians and people around the world are “extremely disturbed” by China’s detention of Canadians.

Trudeau said Canada is impressing upon the Chinese how important it is to release detainees Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor.

Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland says Canada has been has been communicating with its allies that the arbitrary detention of the two Canadians sets a “worrying precedent” – a point she says has resonated.

Canada has been urging for China to release the two men after they were taken into custody on security grounds days after Canadian authorities arrested a senior executive with Chinese firm Huawei Technologies Meng Wanzhou.

On Friday, the U.S. State Department said Canada was honouring its international legal commitments in arresting Wanzhou and it has called for Kovrig and Spavor’s release.

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Britain’s foreign secretary also released a statement saying the U.K. is deeply concerned by suggestions of political motivation for their detention and the European Union says it raises concerns about legitimate research and business practices in China.

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