Blinken Says US, Canada Have to Work Together on World Ills

MONTREAL (AP) -- The United States must work with countries like Canada to solve world problems, Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Friday.

Neither Canada nor the United States can alone face challenges such as climate change, global health issues and the impact of new technologies, Blinken told a group of dignitaries and university students.

"When I started this role, my boss, President Biden, told me, above all, make an effort to re-energize our partnerships, our alliances," said Blinken, who spoke in French during the event, which was also attended by Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister Melanie Joly.

"We're starting with the closest partner, Canada," Blinken said.

In an interview earlier in the day with a Montreal television station, Blinken called Canada and the U.S. "essential partners" who share the same values.

"We work together because the lives of our citizens are very much intertwined," he said.

Blinken was asked about comments made by Russian President Vladimir Putin on Thursday that the world faces the most dangerous decade since World War II.

Blinken said the danger has been created by Russia's invasion of Ukraine.

"It's a war we did not want," he said. "We did everything in our power to avoid it from happening. What we're seeing now is a remarkable partnership between many countries, including the U.S. and Canada, to support Ukraine."

During a tour of a public market, Blinken was met by a handful of protesters opposed to a possible international intervention to deal with the humanitarian and security crisis in Haiti.

Later, both Blinken and Joly reiterated comments they made in Ottawa on Thursday that a multilateral military intervention in the Caribbean nation is being discussed but remains a work in progress.

"There is an enormous challenge for the Haitian people, the suffering is terrible, and I think we all agree we have to act and do something, but by supporting solutions that come from Haiti," he said.

Haiti's interim government has operated in chaos since the July 2021 assassination of President Jovenel Moise. Since September, armed gangs have been blockading fuel access, leading to a shortage of basic goods, clean water and medical services, all during a cholera outbreak.

Canada and the U.S. have sent armored vehicles for the police, and the United Nations is considering a military intervention to restore order, which has been endorsed by U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres.

Blinken said Canada and the U.S. are also closely aligned on the double threat to the Arctic from climate change and Russian expansionism.

He began his Montreal trip with a visit to Lithion, a company that makes batteries for electric vehicles by recycling 95% of the material in used batteries.

Blinken said the company gives him hope for the fight against climate change and described it as an example of the partnerships between Canada and the United States. U.S. companies have invested in Lithion, which is part of a bilateral supply chain.