Canada’s Foreign Minister, John Baird, reiterated on Monday his country’s commitment to Israel’s security.
In a speech to the United Nations General Assembly, Baird also warned against Iran’s recent conciliatory remarks, saying that they must be followed up by actions.
“Some observers see encouraging signs, but sound bites do not remove threats to global security. Kind words, a smile and a charm offensive are not a substitute for real action,” said Baird.
“We will welcome and acknowledge reform, if and when it comes. By this we will know when genuine reform has occurred: Has there been real, measurable, material improvement in the lives of the Iranian people and in the security of the world?”
“Not yet! We will judge the regime on the basis of its action and results,” he declared.
“The P5+1 [the five permanent members of the UN Security Council and Germany] has had five rounds of formal negotiations with Iran in the past two years,” Baird noted. “While everyone says the meetings have been ‘productive,’ the fact remains we haven’t seen any change in Iran’s actions.”
“Next year, nothing would make Canada more pleased than to see a change in Iran’s nuclear ambitions. A change to its terrible human rights record. And an end to Iran’s material support for terrorism,” he added.
“Now is the time for the global community to maintain tough sanctions against Iran in order that it take a different path on its nuclear program.”
“The Iranian people want peace. And the Iranian people are suffering great hardship because of their government, said Baird, adding, “Canada wants the Iranian people to be able to access a life of freedom and prosperity for themselves.”
Regarding Israel, Baird said that his country is not neutral on Israel’s right to exist and defend itself.
“There can be no bargaining over Israel’s existence,” he declared, adding, “While dialogue is a virtue, there can be no virtuous discussion with anyone wedded to Israel’s destruction.”
“Today, the Jewish people are masters of their own fate, like other nations, in their own sovereign Jewish state. Like other nations, Israel has the right to defend itself, by itself,” he said.
“Canada fundamentally believes peace is achievable. That Palestinians and Israelis and their neighbors can live side by side, in peace and security.”
We, like many nations, wish to see a prosperous Palestinian state living in peace with its Jewish neighbor”.
“That’s why, although we sometimes have fundamental differences on how statehood is achieved, Canada is providing significant assistance to build the institutions that are vital to the establishment of a viable future state,” said Baird.
“Recent developments in negotiations between Israel and the Palestinian Authority are encouraging. I salute the leadership and courage of the Israeli Prime Minister [Binyamin Netanyahu] and the Palestinian Authority’s [Chairman Mahmoud Abbas].
“I commend U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry for his leadership in this area, and we must all commit ourselves to this cause, united by the prospect of peace,” said Baird.
“I look forward to the day when Israeli and Palestinian children can live side by side in peace and security in a Jewish and a Palestinian state.”