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14 July 2018, 10:45 | Darnell Patrick
Canadian soldiers take part in NATO operations near Skrunda Latvia
BRUSSELS-Prime Minister Justin Trudeau will come face-to-face with U.S. President Donald Trump for the first time since the explosive end to the G7 meetings in Quebec last month that ended with Trump accusing Trudeau of being "very dishonest and weak".
Mr Abbott says while Canberra increased defence spending from 1.6 per cent of GDP to 2.0 per cent, "more needs to be done" given the 60 per cent rise in military spending across the region in the past decade.
Canada is expected to spend an estimated 1.23 per cent of its GDP on defence in 2018 - down from 1.36 per cent a year ago, says the annual report, which looks at military investments for all member states.
The message is hardly subtle, and has one overarching aim: to counteract Trump's ongoing efforts to portray Canada and other member states as pinching pennies when it comes to the military spending target of two per cent of GDP - a benchmark agreed to by allies at the 2014 summit in Wales.
Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland, however, dismissed the suggestion of a link between Trump's belligerent rhetoric and the Iraq mission, insisting that it's simply a case of doing the right thing.
The 2018 NATO Summit took place in Belgium on Wednesday.
He described the mission as a natural next step for Canada in the fight against Islamic State militants by continuing to help build institutional capacity in Iraq.
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The only true growth will be in Latvia, where the government plans to add 80 new soldiers to 450 already there. An earlier version said defence spending in Canada as a percentage of GDP was higher in 2018 than in 2017.
"We have to build that democracy and strengthen it", Trudeau said at a German Marshall Fund event on the sidelines of the two-day summit.
They also discussed Canada's "significant contributions to the alliance" and the importance of the transatlantic bond that NATO provides to unite Europe and North America.
American and North Atlantic Treaty Organisation military officials gave the green light to transform current US -led coalition mission in Iraq into a more-multinational campaign amid the promise of new commitments from partner nations to increase the alliance's contribution to a post-Islamic State Iraq.
Canadian forces have been tapped to lead NATO's new military adviser mission in Iraq, as the alliance looks to expand and extend its operations in the war-torn country.
Canada is also now contributing mobile training teams to NATO's counter-improvised explosive device capacity building efforts for Iraq.
Some of those activities will continue, said Gen. Jonathan Vance, Canada's chief of the defence staff - including the deployment of Canadian special forces to Mosul to help Iraqi forces ferret out existing pockets of ISIL resistance as thousands of people displaced by years of fighting return to the city.
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