Canada looking to extend mission in Libya

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Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper said Friday he expects broad support for extending Ottawa's participation in the NATO-led mission in Libya when parliament debates it in June.

"It will be debated in June," he told a press conference at the end of a Group of Eight summit in France.

"We will be looking for an extension to our mission," he said. "We've had good, strong support across parties in parliament for this mission. I would hope now that we continue to have it."

"I think significant progress has been made," the prime minister added. "The rebels have sustained their gains in the east of the country, and I think there continues to evidence that the power of the Kadhafi regime continues to be degraded."

Harper pointed to Russia's dramatic change of tone in calling for Libyan leader Moamer Kadhafi "to go" as encouraging.

Moscow had previously criticized the air strikes on Kadhafi's forces as they try to quash a pro-democracy rebellion.

Given this international consensus, "I would hope that would encourage parliament to continue to support the actions of the Canadian forces which we're very proud as part of the international effort," Harper said.

© 2011 AFP

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