Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird that secretly visited Iraq on Wednesday declared Canada would stand by the people of Iraq but rejected improving relations with the Iranian regime for countering ISIS (ISIL) in Iraq.
Baird, whose travel plans had been a closely guarded secret, is there to provide both moral and material support to Iraq, Ottawa Citizen reported.
“Baird was unwilling to cut neighbouring Iran any slack, despite that country’s stated opposition to ISIL’s advance and recent signals that it’s willing to work with the U.S. and its allies. Canada still lists Iran as a state sponsor of terrorism,” the report said.
“Obviously we have a very different view when it comes to the government of Tehran,” Baird said.
The Iranian regime “could suspend its considerable support to terrorist organizations not just around the region, but around the world,” he said.
Baird also urged the Iraqi leadership to come together and govern for all Iraqis, regardless of religious or ethnic background. “We want to be able to see the government here stand on its two feet and fight terrorism,” he said.
Earlier, Baird’s unity message was reinforced by opposition MPs Paul Dewar and Marc Garneau, the NDP and Liberal foreign affairs critics, who accompanied Baird at his request in a show of non-partisan political solidarity.