Syria, migration on agenda for Canada, Mexico, U.S. talks

Reuters News
Posted: Jan 29, 2016 11:37 AM

QUEBEC CITY (Reuters) - Canada's role in a U.S.-led coalition fighting Islamic State militants, war refugees and the extradition of a Mexican drug boss are on the agenda for talks on Friday between the foreign ministers of Canada, the United States and Mexico, a senior U.S. official said.

The meeting in Quebec City is the first since the Liberals of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau took office in November, vowing to fulfill an election campaign promise to withdraw six fighter jets from the more than 60-nation coalition involved in U.S.-led air strikes on militant targets in Iraq and Syria.

"Obviously we would like them to continue that contribution but we will talk about what else they may be able to do if they are going to withdraw those jets," a senior State Department official told reporters.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry would also raise the issue of Syrian refugees with Canadian Minister of Foreign Affairs Stephane Dion, the official said.

Trudeau's Liberals have promised to accept more refugees more quickly than the previous Conservative government, including bringing in 25,000 Syrians. The resettlement of the Syrian refugees was delayed from December to March because of concerns about security screening and logistics.

Despite a political backlash over security concerns, the Obama administration has said it plans to resettle at least 10,000 Syrians this year.

The official said the extradition of Joaquin "El Chapo" Guzman to the United States from Mexico would be discussed in a meeting between Kerry and Mexico's Foreign Minister Claudia Ruiz Massieu.

Guzman was caught in early January after six months on the run following a prison break through a tunnel in his cell floor. Once featured in the Forbes list of billionaires, he led a cartel that smuggled billions of dollars worth of cocaine, heroin, marijuana and methamphetamines into the United States and fought vicious turf wars with other Mexican gangs.

Venezuela's economic crisis and elections in Haiti would also be discussed, the State Department official said.

(Reporting by Lesley Wroughton; editing by Grant McCool)