The foreign Affairs without the United States: Champagne says, “so much the better”

Les Affaires étrangères sans les États-Unis: Champagne dit «tant mieux»

The minister of foreign Affairs, François-Philippe Champagne, lists all the countries and international meetings in his calendar in December. Japan, Germany, the Sinai of egypt, the summit of NATO… “Four continents out of seven in three weeks!”

21 December 2019 14: 37

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The foreign Affairs without the United States: Champagne says, “so much the better”

Lina Dib

The Canadian Press

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OTTAWA — The elected Shawinigan is very satisfied with his fate.

François-Philippe Champagne became minister of foreign Affairs of Canada on November the 20th. But just as when he was in charge of international trade, records of the United States to escape him. His colleague asked by chrystia Freeland still keeps the control on american business.

Frustrating? “No,” replied, without hesitation, the minister, Champagne, installed in its offices in Ottawa for an interview with The canadian Press.

“So much the better if, while Ms. Freeland continues to keep this relationship then bilateral issues U.s.-Canada, it allows Canada to project, to have this voice here, to be engaged around the world”, offers there.

The minister believes that it will not, however, that the relationship with the rest of the world has been neglected, while the one that preceded it put all its energies in negotiating the new free trade agreement with the United States and Mexico. It welcomes, however, that Canada is “more” present elsewhere in the world, now that he is the diplomat-in-chief.

It lists all the countries and international meetings in his calendar in December. Japan, Germany, the Sinai of egypt, the summit of NATO… “Four continents out of seven in three weeks!”

And when asked if he has taken a decision on the sale of the canadian armour to Saudi Arabia, he replies, “not yet” and is justified.

“It’s been three weeks. I have been three days here. Give me a chance,” he smiles with his affability usual.

The Trudeau government undertook a review of this sales agreement in October 2018, while the assassination of Jamal Khashoggi, thunderstruck the planet.

A seat on the security Council of the United Nations

Just arrived in his new duties, the minister, Champagne had to explain Canada’s decision to vote in favour of a resolution at the United Nations reproach to Israel.

However, since the government of Paul Martin, Ottawa ranks in a tiny group of countries who vote against any resolution hostile to the israeli State.

Ten days after the vote of the 19 November, Canada has, again, voted against five other resolutions on the same theme.

Why this one exception?

“On the whole of the resolutions, […] it was the one that was the most symbolic, to continue to express the policy of the Canada which has been there for decades,” tries to explain to the minister, in an interview, referring to the official policy of Canada in favour of the coexistence of two States.

“I think that it was done in a respectful way that takes into account Canada’s interests in the Middle East,” he adds. I think that our israeli friends understand that Canada is a natural ally of Israel, it is an ally of the jewish community in Canada. I met with the permanent representative of Israel to the united nations […] when I was in New York. It was explained to them,” he says.

The conservative opposition in Canada has criticised the government for attempting, by this vote, to get more support for the canadian bid for a temporary seat on the security Council of the United Nations.

“I don’t think you can see a larger plan”, ensures the minister Champagne which denies any link between the vote and the campaign for this seat, financial year that ends in six months.

And he refuses to confirm the information according to which, after this vote, the Jordan would have served its support for Canada’s presence at the security Council.

He was willing, however, to report the interest of the francophone countries to the canadian bid.

“When I was in New York recently, I talked about even before the consolidation of French-speaking countries. […] There is a particular interest of the francophonie to support a country like Canada,” he says.

The weight of his ministry

François-Philippe Champagne is a measure of the weight of his ministry.

“It is a responsibility that is quite unique. […] It is that the decisions that you take can have a direct impact on the quality of life, or [same] on the life of the people”, he remarked.

He who was in the habit for 2015 to speak at length to reporters explained his new “caution”.

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