Department of National Defence

Department of National Defence

January 14, 2011 09:00 ET

Minister of National Defence Concludes Visit to the Middle East

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Jan. 14, 2011) - The Honourable Peter MacKay, Minister of National Defence concluded a five-day visit to the Middle East today where he visited Israel, the West Bank and Jordan.

"This visit gave me the opportunity to meet with key Israeli, Palestinian and Jordanian partners and to reiterate Canada's desire to assist their efforts in bringing stability, security and peace to the region," said Minister MacKay. "I witnessed, first hand, the superb work of some of our 55 Canadian Forces personnel deployed in the region – from the Sinai to the Golan Heights – as part of Canada's contribution to the process of peace in the Middle East."

In Israel, Minister MacKay was hosted by the Israeli Minister of Defence, Ehud Barak. The two ministers signed a Canada-Israel Principal Memorandum of Understanding (PMOU) on defence cooperation. Minister MacKay also met with Prime Minister Benjamin Netenyahu and Tzipi Livni, leader of Kadima, the main opposition party.

In the West Bank, Minister MacKay met with the Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and Prime Minister Salaam Fayyad and high level security officials. Minister MacKay expressed Canada's support for security sector reforms underway in the Palestinian Authority. As part of the mission of the United States Security Coordinator, Operation PROTEUS – a contingent of 18 Canadian Forces personnel and three civilians, is playing a leading role in helping the Palestinians implement some of those key reforms which are leading to improved security for both Palestinians and Israelis. 

Minister MacKay concluded his regional visit in Jordan where he met with His Royal Highness King Abdullah II and Prime Minister and Defence Minister Samir Al-Rifai to discuss bilateral defence relations and to share views on regional and global security issues, where Jordan continues to play an important and constructive role.

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