Friday, February 20, 2009

Obama will listen to us on Afghanistan: Ignatieff

In another interview Ignatieff mentioned that he would ask for the repatriation of Khadr but most articles do not mention this any more. Both Harper and Ignatieff seem to envision a non-combat role in Afghanistan even after 2011 dumping more money into the Afghan sewer. Also, even non-combat roles can involve casualties and a role can involve self defence and conflict even if it is not directly a combat role.

Obama 'will listen to us' on Afghanistan: IgnatieffLast Updated: Wednesday, February 18, 2009 2:39 PM ET Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff says he will press U.S. President Barack Obama during their meeting on Thursday in Ottawa for a clear, consistent strategy for Afghanistan, while also urging the U.S. leader to take more action against protectionist trade measures and ensure a free-flowing border.Liberal Leader Michael Ignatieff, shown, is scheduled to meet U.S. President Barack Obama for 20 minutes on Thursday at Ottawa International Airport. (Sean Kilpatrick/Canadian Press)Speaking to reporters on Wednesday in Brossard, Que., Ignatieff reiterated that the Liberals would not accept an extension of Canada's military mission in Afghanistan, which is scheduled to end in February 2011.Ignatieff, who is scheduled to meet briefly with Obama at Ottawa International Airport on Thursday afternoon before the U.S. leader departs for Washington, said he has "a lot to say" about Canada's experience in Afghanistan and the direction of the NATO-led mission beyond the 2011 end date."We are looking for a strategy that will provide for some coherence and consistency in the NATO mission," he said."We’re at the centre of that mission and we believe that Mr. Obama will listen to what we have to say about the Canadian experience in Afghanistan, and we’ll be sharing all of that with him."Ignatieff said Canada must pursue its engagement in Afghanistan after 2011 by focusing on development, as well as political and diplomatic efforts."We have a great deal to contribute even in terms of strengthening our presence on the humanitarian and development side," he said."And we will be able to continue the mission, but not on a military basis."'You can certainly do a lot in 20 minutes'Protocol dictates the president meet with the leader of the Official Opposition during a visit to Canada. But the Liberals have questioned the selection of a less-than-public location for the meeting and its brevity — details they say were determined by the Prime Minister's Office.Ignatieff, who counts some of Obama's advisers as his friends from his days teaching at Harvard University, scoffed at the idea he had the right to demand a minimum amount of time with the president.But he said he expects an amount equal to the 20 minutes then Opposition leader Stephen Harper had in a meeting on Parliament Hill with George W. Bush during a presidential visit in 2004."You don't make demands to the president of the United States," he said. "My problem is with Prime Minister Harper and not with President Obama.…You can certainly do a lot in 20 minutes."When asked whether he was concerned about his relative lack of visibility with the highly popular American leader, Ignatieff said he expects Thursday's visit to be the first of many."This president is going to be around for a long time; it will be up to the Americans to decide how long," he said."If he’s here for five hours or five minutes, he’s welcome on Canadian territory. He’s a neighbour, an ally and a friend, and we hope to see him much more in the future."

No comments: