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NATO secretary general to focus on arctic during Canada visit

NATO secretary general to focus on arctic during Canada visit

FILE PHOTO: NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg attends a NATO summit in Madrid, Spain June 30, 2022. REUTERS/Susana Vera

OTTAWA: NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg will visit Canada next week to focus on Arctic security amid climate change and Russia's invasion of Ukraine, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau's office said on Friday (Aug 19).

Stoltenberg will travel to Canada from Aug 24 to Aug 26 and will be accompanied by Trudeau during the visit.

On Thursday he will stop in Cambridge Bay, Nunavut, a hamlet in the far north and one of the main stops for vessels traversing the Arctic Ocean's Northwest Passage between the Atlantic and Pacific oceans.

On Friday, he will travel to a Canadian jet fighter base in Cold Lake, Alberta, to discuss plans to modernise NORAD, the joint US-Canadian North American defense organisation, the statement said.

"Given the locations, there will be a significant focus on the Arctic and how climate change is affecting security," a government spokesperson said.

Stoltenberg has made trips to Europe's Arctic this year, mainly to show support for Finland and Sweden's bid to join the alliance. Nearly 40 per cent of Canada's land mass is considered Arctic, while Russia stretches over 53 per cent of the Arctic Ocean coastline, according to the Arctic Council.

In June, Canada said it would invest C$4.9 billion (US$3.8 billion) over the next six years to modernise NORAD, which experts say is in dire need of upgrades.

The more-than six-decade-old system detects security threats to North America, and its early-warning radar for the polar region dates back to the late 1980s.

Source: Reuters

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