Canada Defence Minister Harjit Sajjan and U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin discuss situation in Afghanistan and reinforce defence ties

Ottawa: Canada and the United States share an important and valued bilateral relationship, which includes a close defence partnership. This is underscored by a commitment to working together to ensure the defence and security of North America.

Today, Defence Minister Harjit S. Sajjan spoke by telephone with U.S. Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III to discuss the situation in Afghanistan and efforts to reinforce defence cooperation between Canada and the U.S.

Secretary Austin expressed appreciation for Canada’s commitment to resettle 20,000 vulnerable Afghan refugees who have been forced to flee Afghanistan. The Minister and the Secretary discussed efforts by Canada and the United States to protect diplomatic personnel and locally-engaged staff and agreed to continue close collaboration on this matter. Canada will continue working diligently to resettle Afghans who assisted the Canadian mission in the country.

During the call, Minister Sajjan and Secretary Austin also approved two joint statements: one regarding enhancing continental defence and security, including North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) modernization; and the other on strategic policy consultation.

Canada will continue cooperating with the U.S. to enhance NORAD’s ability to execute the missions outlined in the NORAD Agreement, as it has for over 60 years, while adapting to an evolving security environment. The Joint Statement on NORAD Modernization, approved today by Minister Sajjan and Secretary Austin, recognizes the enduring and renewed importance of NORAD, and sets out shared priorities and ideas for new investments that will ensure this unique binational command has the modern capabilities needed to protect our nations against evolving threats.

Canada remains committed to improved information exchange and continued consultations with the U.S., as it pertains to various national defence strategies. The Joint Statement on Consultation on Strategic Documents was officially adopted by both nations today, recognizing the value of strategic dialogue and reflecting both nations’ long-standing practice of ensuring open and ongoing collaboration on issues of strategic interest.

Canada appreciates U.S. efforts to strengthen consultation with allies and partners and looks forward to future exchanges on our shared challenges in North America and around the world.