Harper meets NATO chief to talk about war against ISIL, crisis in Ukraine

Prime Minister Stephen Harper and NATO secretary general Jens Stoltenberg met today to discuss the war in Iraq and the crisis in Ukraine.

OTTAWA — Prime Minister Stephen Harper and NATO secretary general Jens Stoltenberg met today to discuss the war in Iraq and the crisis in Ukraine.

The meeting just comes days ahead of the planned introduction of a motion to extend and expand Canada’s combat mission against extremists in Iraq — and possibly Syria.

Stoltenberg, a former prime minister of Norway who became the alliance’s secretary general last year, is on his first visit to Canada.

He says the U.S.-led coalition’s mission in the Middle East is important because stability in the region is vital to the security of the rest of the world.

Stoltenberg praises Canada’s contribution in Iraq and to NATO’s reassurance missions in eastern Europe, which have included fighter jets, the deployment of a frigate and ground troops on a training exercise.

NATO has no role in the war against the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, although it was widely expected the military alliance would contribute to a mission to train Iraqi security forces the way it did in Afghanistan.

But to date, there has been no invitation from the Shiite-led government in Baghdad.