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Canadian FM makes private visit to Western Wall


Canadian Foreign Minister John Baird visited the Western Wall on Monday at the tail end of a Middle East trip that took him to Lebanon and Jordan.

According to Joseph Lavoie, the acting director of communications in Baird’s office, the visit was a private one. The minister, Lavoie said, was flying home from Ben-Gurion Airport after having visited Israel’s northern and eastern neighbors.

Israeli diplomatic officials said Baird, who was last in Israel in early February for the annual Herzliya Conference, was here on a private visit and they did not know whether he had any government meetings planned.

The Canadian foreign minister is a staunch supporter of Israel. The Hill Times, a Canadian weekly that covers that country’s politics, listed him this year as the third-most influential person in Canadian government and politics.
  
Asked by the magazine what he would be doing were he not in politics, Baird replied: “Likely working on a kibbutz in Israel.”

Baird, while in Jordan, announced that Canada would provide Jordan with $6.5 million in new assistance to help it deal with an influx of refugees from Syria. Baird, who visited the Zaatari refugee camp for the Syrian refugees in northern Jordan, said his country would also donate $2m. for medical supplies for doctors inside Syria, and another $1.5m. to the World Food Program to help feed Syrian refugees.

This is in addition to some $8.5m. Canada is already providing in humanitarian assistance to those suffering from the violence in Syria.

An estimated 140,000 Syrian refugees have fled to Jordan.



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