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Canada extends maritime security mission in Middle East to 2021

Monday - 29/05/2017 15:30
Military will deploy frigate, patrol aircraft, and up to 375 Canadian Forces personnel
Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan speaks to reporters on Parliament Hill on Monday after announcing Canada will extend its contribution to a multinational maritime security force in the Middle East and off the coast of Eastern Africa until the end of April 2
Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan speaks to reporters on Parliament Hill on Monday after announcing Canada will extend its contribution to a multinational maritime security force in the Middle East and off the coast of Eastern Africa until the end of April 2

Canada is extending its commitment to an international maritime security mission in the waters off the Middle East for another four years, Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan announced today.

"It is a clear display of our solidarity with partners and allies in the global fight against terrorism," Sajjan said of Operation Artemis, Canada's contribution to a multinational maritime security force in the region.

The federal government has approved up to $131.4 million to support the extension, which will see the deployment of up to 375 military personnel.

The Canadian Forces will also send a CP-140 Aurora patrol aircraft as part of the mission, and plan to deploy a Halifax-class frigate every other year staring in 2018.

Combined Task Force 150

Combined Task Force 150 is a U.S.-led multinational mission bringing together 31 countries in the waters around the Middle East and East Africa.

The multinational force deploys ships and surveillance operations to deter and intercept illegal shipments of weapons and narcotics used to fund terrorist groups.

Canadian Warship Drug Bust
Canada plans to deploy a frigate next year to a multinational force patrolling international waters in the Middle East as part of an extension to Operation Artemis. (Andrew Vaughan/Canadian Press)

"By denying terrorists a method of conducting operations and moving personnel, weapons and narcotics, Canada makes a direct contribution to increased maritime security and international counterterrorism efforts," Sajjan said.

Covering more than five million square kilometres, the task force's purview spans the Red Sea, the Gulf of Aden, the Arabian Sea, the Gulf of Oman and the Western Indian Ocean. The maritime region is strategically important not only in terms of its place in the global fight against terrorism, but also as a vital trade route between the Far East, Europe and North America.

The planned deployment of a Halifax-class frigate to the Middle East next year is in contrast to when Canada last led the multinational force. Canada was unable to send a frigate for that command in December 2016, the third time Canada had led CTF 150 since its launch in 2001.

Canada has since handed command of the operation to France. Sajjan said Canada could seek to lead the multinational force every other year.

4-years allow flexibility: Sajjan

Sajjan said the four-year extension will allow the military greater flexibility in planning its operations, with this mission connected to Canada's broader efforts to counter terrorism worldwide. 

The deployment of a CP-140 Aurora as part of Operation Artemis is "not related at all whatsoever" to the government's decision earlier this month to pull a similar aircraft from the U.S.-led coalition against ISIS, Sajjan told reporters.

The defence minister also did not provide further details on the government's expected commitment to international peacekeeping operations.

"When it comes to peace support operations, we want to make sure we take the time to get this right, because it's not done in isolation" Sajjan said.

Source: CBC News:

 Key: Canada

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