OTTAWA — Canada's foreign affairs minister will soon travel to Israel and the West Bank to advance a two-state solution following a deadly 11-day war between Israelis and Palestinians.
Marc Garneau's office says his visit to the Middle East is part of an international trip that begins in Italy, where on Monday and Tuesday he will attend several ministerial meetings including one with his G20 counterparts.
Afterwards, his office says, he will travel to Jordan, Israel and the West Bank to advance Canada’s support towards the goal of a comprehensive, just and lasting peace in the region and a two-state solution.
The minister's visit to the region comes weeks after a ceasefire ended the war that left at least 230 Palestinians and 12 Israelis dead.
Global Affairs Canada spokesman Jason Kung said last week that Canada supports the principle of two states for two peoples, with both Israelis and Palestinians living within secure borders that are mutually respected and recognized.
He said Canada calls on Israel to stop settlement activities, including those in East Jerusalem and the West Bank, as these activities are a violation of international law.
The fighting between Israel and Hamas erupted on May 10, when Hamas militants in Gaza Strip fired long-range rockets toward Jerusalem.
The barrage came after days of clashes between Palestinian protesters and Israeli police at the Al-Aqsa Mosque, the third holiest site in Islam, which is built on a hilltop site sacred to Jews in the holy city.
Tensions were fuelled by a lengthy legal battle waged by Israeli settlers to take over properties and plan for the removal of dozens of Palestinians from the Sheikh Jarrah neighbourhood of East Jerusalem.
While in Italy, Garneau will also attend a ministerial meeting of the global coalition against the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant and a ministerial meeting on Syria.
After visiting the Middle East, Garneau will end his trip on July 8 in Lithuania where he will attend the Ukraine Reform Conference.
"As we build back better from the COVID-19 pandemic, we must not lose sight of the challenges and priorities that need our attention," Garneau said in a statement.
"I’m looking forward to engaging with our allies and partners to help collectively advance global peace and security, increase our economic co-operation and strengthen Canada’s bilateral and multilateral relationships."
Garneau has already travelled internationally amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Last month, he attended a G7 foreign ministers meeting in the United Kingdom and quarantined in a hotel upon his return to Canada.
This report by The Canadian Press was first published June 23, 2021.
This story was produced with the financial assistance of the Facebook and Canadian Press News Fellowship.
Maan Alhmidi, The Canadian Press