Rohingya, Venezuela added to Canada’s G7 international security agenda


OTTAWA — Canada is expanding the focus of the upcoming G7 foreign ministers meeting to include the plight of Rohingya Muslims fleeing Myanmar for Bangladesh and the democratic backslide in Venezuela.

Peter Boehm, Canada’s chief summit organizer, says those items are being added to the “perennial” international security issues the G7 usually confronts, such as Syria, Ukraine and Iran.

Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland says Canada wants to use the G7 to leverage the recommendations in the recently completed report by its special envoy Bob Rae, who called for the perpetrators of violence against the Rohingya to be brought to justice.

Freeland also says European voices need to be added to the chorus of international condemnation of Venezuela’s ongoing crackdowns on dissent and democracy.

Freeland and Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale are hosting their G7 counterparts for three days of meetings in Toronto next week.

Boehm says Goodale and his counterparts will be focusing on cybersecurity and on how to deal with foreign fighters returning from Middle East battlefields in the ongoing war with Islamic militants.

The Canadian Press