U.S. can't sway Canada on Afghan pullout: Cannon
Canada's foreign Affairs Minister Lawrence Cannon had stated that Canada will not extend its stay in Afghanistan beyond 2011.
Let me be perfectly clear: Canada is abiding by the motion that was adopted in our Parliament," Cannon said at a news conference in New York. "Our position is perfectly clear — we are not going beyond 2011.
This position is taken as per the parliamentary vote in 2008. However, its is believed that the White House will try to convince Canada to extend its stay.
Sources told The Canadian Press they were contacted by the White House and asked for advice on how to get Ottawa to change its mind.
Parliament voted in 2008 to set 2011 as an end date in Afghanistan and Prime Minister Stephen Harper has made it clear he's not interested in extending the mission.
Cannon asked UN to expand its presence in Afghanistan outside the capital, Kabul.
In New York, Cannon made a speech to the United Nations Security Council, urging it to bolster its presence in Afghanistan outside the capital, Kabul.
"We view the UN's role in Kandahar and throughout the country as fundamental. The UN needs to play the same coordinating and leadership role in the provinces as it plays in Kabul," Cannon said.
Cannon defended Canadian diplomats against the allegation that they mishandled a controversial file and rejected that the diplomat were aware of the specifics of the Shiite family law, which international critics dubbed as "Afghan rape law."
He also defended Canadian diplomats against accusations they mishandled a controversial file.
Government documents suggest embassy officials in Kabul were warned Feb. 15 that other countries had concerns about the Shiite family law.
The sweeping legislation included several contentious provisions - most notably one which would allow men to demand sex from their wives at least every four days.
The legislation has been derisively dubbed by international critics as the "Afghan rape law." Its defenders argue that, by Afghan standards, the law could be considered liberal.
Canada protested vigorously, along with other countries, when an international furor finally erupted.
Cannon declined to blame any diplomats for failing to alert Ottawa sooner. He said nobody at the time was aware of the specifics of the law, including the secretive way in which it was drafted.
In the aftermath of the controversy, Ottawa deployed a legal team to Kabul to help the Afghans vet legislation.