The Canadian authorities will only deal with the legitimate government of Lebanon and will not deal with Hezbollah officials as they prepare to deploy military advisers to Lebanon as part of Ottawa’s new strategy to fight the Islamic State extremist group, Canada’s Defense Minister Harjit Sajjan said.
“We will only deal with the legitimate government of Lebanon and will not deal with Hezbollah,” Radio Canada International (RCI) quoted Sajjan as saying on Thursday.
Sajjan’s comment in Brussels, where he attended a high-level NATO meeting, came in response to questions about Canada’s plans to deploy up to 100 soldiers to Lebanon and Jordan to help their respective militaries to counter the threat posed by the IS.
According to RCI, the minister said Canadian Armed Forces will work with Jordanian and Lebanese authorities on capacity building to help them counter the threats they face on their borders with Syria.
Like the US Canada considers the Iranian backed Hezbollah militant group a terrorist organization.
Last week, Canadian Foreign Minister Stephane Dion and International Development Minister Marie-Claude Bibeau said Ottawa will provide about Can$1.6 billion (US$1.2 billion) in development and humanitarian aid and other efforts over three years to respond to the crisis in Iraq and Syria and to address the impact on Jordan, Lebanon and the wider region.
Those funds will include help for Jordan and Lebanon to bolster security as well as to feed and house refugees displaced by the conflict from neighboring countries.