Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau meets with King Abdullah II of Jordan on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, Monday November 18, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld

Trudeau, king of Jordan meet to talk refugee issues, security concerns

Upwards of 660,000 Syrians have sought shelter in neighbouring Jordan

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau lauded the king of Jordan for his leadership in the Middle East during troubled times.

Trudeau offered the tribute on Monday morning as he welcomed King Abdullah II on his fifth visit to Canada in his 20 years as leader of the strategically important Middle Eastern country that borders Syria and Iraq.

“I really have to say that His Majesty has been extraordinary in being a strong leader at a time of so much uncertainty,” Trudeau told Abdullah after the two shook hands in his Parliament Hill office.

“Whether it’s on refugees or human rights, economic growth and opportunities, you really have been a tremendous, tremendous strong voice.”

Abdullah, clad in a dark business suit and red tie, said his country appreciated the “tremendous support” it has received from Canada on co-ordinating on refugee and regional issues, and “outstanding military and intelligence co-operation.”

Upwards of 660,000 Syrians have sought shelter in neighbouring Jordan from the conflict engulfing their homeland, a massive influx for Jordan’s population of about 10 million

Canada has tried to help ease the burden under a marquee Liberal program that originated in a campaign promise during the 2015 election.

That year, Trudeau promised to bring 25,000 Syrians to Canada and it is four years ago this month in Jordan that the Liberal government kicked off a multi-billion-dollar program that would eventually see nearly 40,000 Syrians arrive.

The Prime Minister’s Office said the two were scheduled to discuss the partnership between Canada and Jordan and efforts to promote diversity and counter violent extremism.

They are also expected to discuss ongoing regional security concerns, exacerbated in recent weeks by the repeated violation of a ceasefire in the Syrian civil war.

The Canadian Press


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