Canada withdrawing fighter jets from Iraq, Syria, Trudeau tells US President Obama

Canada's Prime Minister-elect Justin Trudeau.
Canada's Prime Minister-elect Justin Trudeau.PHOTO: EPA

OTTAWA (AFP) - Canada's Prime Minister-elect Justin Trudeau said on Tuesday (Oct 20) that he told United States President Barack Obama that Canadian fighter jets would withdraw from fighting the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS)

But he gave no timeline.

"About an hour ago I spoke with President Obama," Mr Trudeau told a press conference.

While Canada remains "a strong member of the coalition against ISIL", Mr Trudeau said he made clear to the US leader "the commitments I have made around ending the combat mission".

Mr Obama on Tuesday called Mr Trudeau to congratulate him on his election victory, the White House said, with both men vowing closer cooperation on trade and climate change.

Mr Obama and the youthful Liberal leader "agreed on the importance of deepening the already strong United States-Canada relationship", White House officials said.

"They committed to work together to achieve an ambitious and durable global climate agreement in Paris in December."

"The President wished the Prime Minister-designate well and noted that he looks forward to meeting with him in the near future."

Canada last year deployed CF-18 fighter jets to the region until March 2016, as well as about 70 special forces troops to train Kurds in northern Iraq.

During the campaign, Mr Trudeau pledged to bring home the fighter jets and end its combat mission. But he vowed to keep military trainers in place.

"We want to ensure that the transition is done in an orderly fashion."

His new Liberal government will be "moving forward with our campaign commitments in a responsible fashion", Mr Trudeau said.

The White House had been frustrated by the climate skepticism of outgoing Prime Minister Stephen Harper, who also lobbied strongly for the transborder Keystone pipeline.

Earlier, White House spokesman Josh Earnest said Canada had made "a substantial and important commitment in advance of the Paris climate talks", adding however, "we believe that it's possible that there is more that Canada can do in this regard."

Mr Earnest said the White House was "deeply appreciative" of Mr Harper's work "to build a strong US-Canada relationship".

According to the White House, Mr Obama and Mr Trudeau "committed to strengthening the countries' joint efforts to promote trade," including implementation of a recently agreed trans-Pacific free-trade deal.