Canadian Security Magazine

Harper wanted to pull out of OSCE, diplomats reveal

By The Canadian Press   

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OTTAWA – Former prime minister Stephen Harper wanted to pull Canada out of one of Europe's leading security organization four years ago but U.S. President Barack Obama convinced him to stay.

Three European ambassadors are describing what happened in 2012 when Harper suggested Canada would withdraw from the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, a 57-country alliance that includes NATO and European Union countries.

The diplomats say Harper believed the OSCE was no longer relevant because Europe was mainly peaceful then.
But the outbreak of hostilities between Russia and Ukraine would later change all that.

With Obama’s help, the diplomats say Canada was persuaded to stay and became a fulsome participant in the OSCE after 2012 and when the Ukraine crisis began to escalate.
The ambassadors of Germany, Serbia and Austria described the events of 2012 today in Ottawa as Foreign Affairs Minister Stephane Dion travels to Ukraine this week to pledge Canada’s solidarity with the East European country.

Russia annexed Ukraine’s Crimea region in 2014 sparking the worst crisis between Russia and the West since the end of the Cold War – a situation the OSCE has played a major role in monitoring on the ground.


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