Canada to extend Libya mission, Harper says after UN speech

UNITED NATIONS — Prime Minister Stephen Harper says his government will ask Parliament to extend the country’s military mission in Libya for three more months.

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon

United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon

UNITED NATIONS — Prime Minister Stephen Harper says his government will ask Parliament to extend the country’s military mission in Libya for three more months.

Harper confirmed that plan after telling the United Nations that Canada will stay the course in rebuilding a post-Gadhafi Libya.

Harper says the fact that ousted dictator Moammar Gadhafi is still at large means the mission isn’t finished.

“We will participate in the mission until armed threats from Gadhafi forces are eliminated from the country,” Harper told reporters.

“We will ask Parliament to extend the mission by three months, but I’m going to be frank with you in saying I’m pretty optimistic we’ll achieve our objectives well before that timeline.”

The prime minister was attending a high-level meeting on Libya attended by dozens of nations and the North African country’s new governing authority, the National Transitional Council.

Harper told the gathering Canada has taken decisive diplomatic, humanitarian and military action to protect and help the people of Libya in the fight to oust Gadhafi and to encourage a transition to democracy.

“Canada has been at the forefront of international efforts to protect civilians in Libya against the oppressive Gadhafi regime and provide them with humanitarian assistance,” Harper said.

“Canada will continue to support the people of Libya, standing ready to promote effective governance and institutions, a secure environment founded on the rule of law, economic development and prosperity, and respect for human rights.”

Canada is prepared to support stabilization and reconstruction in a post-Gadhafi era by supporting the United Nations Support Mission in Libya, he said.

Canada has contributed fighter jets and a warship to the six-month, NATO-led mission to buttress the NTC and protect civilians from Gadhafi, who was driven from power in August but remains at large.

Canada has also contributed about $10.6 million in humanitarian assistance to Libya.

Mustafa Abdul Jalil, the NTC president, thanked the international community for coming together to help wrest his country from the control of four decades of Gadhafi’s iron-fisted rule.

“The road before us is still long … our needs are many,” he added, noting that 25,000 Libyans died in the struggle to oust the dictator.

Harper started his day by meeting Secretary General Ban ki-Moon.

The prime minister is at the UN for talks on the future of Libya and an accountability session on the signature child- and maternal-health initiative that he championed at last year’s G8 in Muskoka, Ont.

An aide to Harper said he and Ban had a wide-ranging discussion that addressed the need for continued global momentum and Canadian leadership on the Third World health initiative, the developments in North Africa and the Middle East, and the need for UN reform and enhanced accountability.

The secretary-general thanked Harper for his leadership on maternal, child and newborn health and for his co-chairmanship of the UN Commission on Information and Accountability for Women’s and Children’s Health.

Harper reiterated his opposition to Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’s plan to seek official UN recognition later this week.

“I think it’s possible that it could be counterproductive,” Harper said. “If the Palestinian Authority is serious about establishing a sovereign state, the method to do that is not a declaration here at the United Nations, it’s to get back at the negotiating table and negotiate peace with Israel.”

On Libya, world leaders are looking at how to support the NTC, as it moves into the rebuilding phase and Gadhafi remains at large.

Harper said Canada hasn’t determined how it will assist the UN rebuilding but said Canada would likely focus on the development of the democratic process and disarmament.

“The presence of some of the disturbing weapons in that country is an area we want to help on.”

Canadian companies want to participate in the economic recovery, Harper added.

U.S. President Barack Obama credited the Libyan people for successfully fighting for their liberation.

“It was Libyan men, women — and children — who took to the streets in peaceful protest, faced down the tanks and endured the snipers’ bullets,” Obama said.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Several cases of COVID-19 were reported among employees of stores at Bower Place Mall. (Photo by LANA MICHELIN/Advocate staff).
COVID-19 cases reported at Bower Place mall stores

AHS said five complaints were investigated since March, and required changes made

Edmonton Eskimos' Tanner Green, right, knocks the ball from Calgary Stampeders' Romar Morris during first half CFL football action in Calgary, Saturday, Aug. 3, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
Lacombe’s Tanner Green happy to finally see a CFL return to play date

CFL announced Wednesday league will return on Aug. 5

Instructor Brandt Trimble leads an outdoor spin class at RYDE RD. (Photo by SUSAN ZIELINSKI/Advocate staff)
Fitness facilities continue to adapt to COVID-19 restrictions

‘It’s really frustrating to be one of the targeted businesses’

Red Deer-Lacombe MP Blaine Calkins (Photo contributed)
Federal budget strangles job growth, says MP Blaine Calkins

‘It is most certainly not a balanced budget’

A vial of the Medicago vaccine sits on a surface. CARe Clinic, located in Red Deer, has been selected to participate in the third phase of vaccine study. (Photo courtesy www.medicago.com)
Red Deer clinical research centre participating in plant-based COVID-19 vaccine trial

A Red Deer research centre has been selected to participate in the… Continue reading

A man walks into a Cargill meat processing factory. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes
Site of COVID outbreak last year: Vaccination clinic at Alberta meat plant postponed

HIGH RIVER, Alta. — A COVID-19 vaccination clinic for thousands of workers… Continue reading

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau looks at a television screen as he listens to United States President Joe Biden deliver a statement during a virtual joint statement following a virtual meeting in Ottawa, Tuesday, February 23, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
‘We hope to help a little more’: Biden says he spoke to Trudeau about more vaccines

WASHINGTON — Canada can look forward to an unexpected shot in the… Continue reading

The Mission Correctional Institution in Mission, B.C. is pictured Tuesday, April 14, 2020. A new federal study found that people released from prison were much more likely than the general population to have trouble finding gainful employment, even over a decade after returning to society. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Ease employment hurdles for former prison inmates, federal study urges

OTTAWA — A new federal study found that people released from prison… Continue reading

Governor of the Bank of Canada Tiff Macklem holds a press conference at the Bank Of Canada in Ottawa on Wednesday, Oct. 28, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Bank of Canada keeps rate on hold, sees brighter economic outlook

OTTAWA — The Bank of Canada is keeping its key interest rate… Continue reading

Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam speaks during a technical briefing on the COVID pandemic in Canada, Friday, January 15, 2021 in Ottawa. Tam says new information on COVID-19 and variants prompted the National Advisory Committee on Immunization to suddenly cancel its planned update on who should get the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
AstraZeneca advice from national panel delayed by new data on COVID-19 and variants

OTTAWA — Canada’s chief public health officer says new information on COVID-19… Continue reading

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau looks at a television screen as he listens to United States President Joe Biden deliver a statement during a virtual joint statement following a virtual meeting in Ottawa, Tuesday, February 23, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Trudeau pressured to adopt tougher emissions target for Biden climate summit

OTTAWA — Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is under pressure to step up… Continue reading

Passengers from Air India flight 187 from New Delhi wait for their transportation to quarantine after arriving at Pearson Airport in Toronto on Wednesday, April 21, 2021.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
ICU pressures mount as COVID fells younger people; Ottawa mulls India travel ban

TORONTO — Amid mounting pressures on critical care in hospitals and concerns… Continue reading

Finance Minister Chrystia Freeland delivers the federal budget in the House of Commons as Prime Minister Justin Trudeau looks on in Ottawa on Monday April 19, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Three confidence votes to determine fate of minority Liberal government

OTTAWA — A pair of proposed changes to the federal budget put… Continue reading

Most Read