William Hague, the Foreign Secretary, and John Baird, Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister, met today for their second annual meeting to renew their commitment to the Canada-UK Joint Declaration, originally endorsed by Prime Ministers Stephen Harper and David Cameron in September 2011.
The two ministers met ahead of the London Conference on the Illegal Wildlife Trade on Thursday, discussing a range of key issues for the bilateral relationship.
As well as renewing the undertaking of objectives set under the Joint Declaration, the ministers discussed Syria, Iran, Somalia, the Commonwealth and the importance of continuing to promote and protect fundamental human rights, including religious freedom.
Minister Baird recognized the commitment of the United Kingdom in combating sexual violence in conflict zones, and the Foreign Secretary commended Canada for its leadership in fighting the scourge of early and forced marriage.
The two ministers also addressed key themes of collaboration, including jobs, growth and the importance of the successful conclusion of a free trade deal between the European Union and Canada. This ambitious agreement-in-principle will stimulate long-term trade and investment in both the Canadian and British economies.
The Foreign Secretary said:
We have a strong and healthy relationship with Canada, to which we are fully committed. We will work together on our priorities, including on free trade and a nuclear deal with Iran, abolishing sexual violence in conflict and striving for political stability in the Middle East. Together, we can achieve a great amount and I am pleased to welcome Minister Baird here to cement our Joint Declaration.
Minister Baird said:
Canada and the UK have made excellent progress on the commitments made under the Joint Declaration. We have also identified a range of issues for enhanced bilateral collaboration, including a commitment to continue efforts to bring an end to sexual violence in conflict zones and to eliminate child, early and forced marriage. I am very pleased to join Foreign Secretary Hague in endorsing this year’s review and refresh of the Joint Declaration.
Minister Baird and the Foreign Secretary also spoke about the Illegal Wildlife Trade Conference taking place in London, hosted by the Prime Minister. They pledged to work in partnership to reduce demand for illegal wildlife products and to support the development of sustainable livelihoods for communities affected by the trade.
Read the joint Statement of Commitment 2014: Building on Shared Objectives and Values
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