President Peres and Canadian FM John Baird
President Peres and Canadian FM John BairdReuters

Canadian Foreign Minister John Baird hailed his country's "special friendship" with Israel in Jerusalem talks with Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu on Tuesday.

The two officials "reaffirmed the close and special friendship that underpins the bilateral relationship between our two countries," a joint statement said.

"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," the statement said.

The two men also discussed Iran's nuclear program, the Syrian conflict and relations between Israel and Turkey, aiming to strengthen the "security relationship" between Canada and Israel, it added.

Canada showed its support for Israel on the international stage in November last year, opposing the Palestinian Authority's ultimately successful bid for upgraded status at the United Nations.

Earlier in the day Baird met with Israeli President Shimon Peres, while on Sunday he met Palestinian Authority chairman Mahmud Abbas and prime minister Salam Fayyad in Ramallah.