(Washington) Epidemic diplomacy continues between the United States and Canada, this time with the Secretary of State.
Anthony Blinken made a virtual visit to Secretary of State Mark Garneau as part of the Biden administration’s campaign to turn the page on the tough years of the Trump presidency.
Mr. Blinken’s “virtual trip” to Canada, which also includes a meeting with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, represents the Minister’s first bilateral videoconference since taking office.
Mm. Garneau and Blinken discussed the plight of Michael Spavor and Michael Coffrig, two Canadians who have spent the past two years in detention in China.
“We both share the same desire to see the release of Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor, and we will work together to achieve this goal. You will understand that in the interest of families, I will not go into details, but I can assure you that the United States and Canada are working towards the same goal, which is to release.” Monday, “Mr. Garneau told reporters after the meeting.
Trudeau said that securing their release remains a top priority for the federal government and that the United States will play what he calls “an important role.”
“These are ongoing operations,” Trudeau said on Friday, but declined to elaborate on what was likely to be a sensitive diplomatic exercise.
Trudeau added, “The United States takes its role very seriously in this file and we look forward to working with them to return Michael’s home as soon as possible.”
Friday’s visit comes on the heels of Mr. Trudeau’s virtual summit this week with US President Joe Biden, which presented a “road map” for cooperation on issues such as climate change, the economy and COVID-19.
“It is difficult to think of two countries whose fates are more intertwined than ours,” Blinken said of Jarno when their meeting began.
“We know that the work we do daily, and most importantly, the deep bonds between our peoples – in nearly every aspect of our societies – benefit both countries,” said the US Secretary of State.
Mr. Garneau restated the compliment, adding that Canada can be more to the United States than just a friendly ally.
He said, “I want you to know that you can count on Canada to be by your side.”
“And I think you will find that we can surprisingly help you, while also developing our own goals.”
Mm. Spavor and Kovrig – often presented in Canada as “two Michael” – were arrested after the December 2018 RCMP arrest of Meng Wanzhou, CFO of the Chinese tech giant Huawei.
On Tuesday, Biden pledged to work with Canada to secure their release, but did not provide any evidence the United States was willing to do specifically.
MI am Meng will return to court in Vancouver on Monday for an extradition hearing to determine whether she should be sent to the United States to face fraud charges.
Earlier this month, Canada, the United States and a coalition of 57 other countries collectively condemned the arbitrary, state-sponsored detention of foreign citizens for political purposes.
Acting Deputy Secretary of State for Western Hemisphere Affairs, Julie Chung, said the United States supports the measure and supports Canada’s request for the release of the gentlemen. Spavor and Cofrej.
“Humans should not be used as pawns,” she said Thursday. We support Canada, our strong friend and partner, in matters of arbitrary detention and release of Canadian citizens. ”
Earlier Friday, Blinken met with Mexico’s foreign minister and economy minister during a “visit” to a port of entry along the southern border of the United States.
Efforts to strengthen relations between Canada and the United States continued, albeit effectively, through various government departments throughout the week.
Le ministre de l’Environnement, Jonathan Wilkinson, s’est entretenu mercredi avec John Kerry, l’envoyé spécial de M. Biden sur le climat, pour étayer les plans d’objectifs de réduction des émissions plus stricts avant un sommet sur le climat in April.
Transport Minister Pete Buttigieg and Transport Minister Omar Al-Ghubra pledged to impose stricter standards for vehicle pollution and to cooperate in setting new standards for aircraft and ships.