NATO secretary general meets Trudeau in Canada, amid Russia, U.S.-Iran tensions

PETAWAWA, Ont. — The secretary-general of NATO has arrived in Canada for a meeting with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

Jens Stoltenberg will tour Canadian Forces Base Petawawa with Trudeau and discuss Canada's NATO deployments in Latvia and Iraq with him.

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Trudeau will also address Canadian troops at this base, about 160 kilometres west of Ottawa.

NATO is part of the rules-based international order the Liberal government frequently promotes, and one of the many multilateral organizations that U.S. President Donald Trump has criticized.

Trump has called the organization an outdated body, saying it was formed to defend the West in the Cold War but is neglected and underfunded by its own members, leaving the U.S. to assume the burden of supporting it.

Canada's mission in Latvia is one of several in NATO countries that have borders with Russia, part of a show of force to discourage Russian President Vladimir Putin from threatening other countries in Europe's east.

The increased NATO presence is a result of Russia's 2014 annexation of Ukraine's Crimean Peninsula, and its fomenting of Kremlin-backed Russian separatists in Ukraine's eastern regions. Ukraine is not a NATO member.

Canada also leads the NATO training mission for Iraqi forces in that country. There are heightened tensions in that region because of the escalating dispute between the U.S. and neighbouring Iran.

After the visit to CFB Petawawa, Stoltenberg will travel to Toronto for a speech and question-and-answer session at the University of Toronto.

The visit starts a week of transatlantic diplomacy for Trudeau, who will welcome European Union leaders to a summit in Montreal on Wednesday.

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