'Cause when you really need a prayer...

From the Inkless mailbox. We are always excited when the foreign minister visits an actual country. It helps us through the quiet days while we wait for the intergovernmental minister to visit a province.


The Honourable Maxime Bernier, Minister of Foreign Affairs, will travel to Croatia, Italy and the Holy See from May 19 to 22, 2008. In Croatia, the Minister will be accompanied by Parliamentary Secretary Deepak Obhrai and Lynne Yelich, Member of Parliament for Blackstrap. In Italy and the Holy See, the Minister will be accompanied by Mr. Obhrai.

“Canada fully supports the democratic transformation of Croatia. With continued prosperity, bilateral trade and investment will grow,” said Minister Bernier. “Croatia’s invitation to join NATO and the country’s ongoing participation in the mission in Afghanistan illustrate the cooperation between Canada and Croatia.”

Regarding Canada’s relationship with Italy, Minister Bernier said the following: “Italy and Canada are long-standing friends, G8 members and NATO allies, as well as strong trading partners. Canada has been enriched by the vibrancy of the Italian-Canadian community, which acts as an important bridge between our two countries. I am committed to expanding Canada-Italy ties.”

While in Croatia, Minister Bernier will visit the country’s capital, Zagreb, where he will meet with Gordan Jandroković, Minister of Foreign Affairs and European Integration, to discuss regional development and security. The two ministers will also review current trade and investment relations and how they might be improved. Minister Bernier will also meet with a number of other Croatian officials: Stjepan Mesić, President, Ivo Sanader, Prime Minister, Luka Bebić, Speaker of the Parliament, Damir Polančec, Vice Prime Minister and Minister of Economy, Labour, and Entrepreneurship, and Branko Vukelić, Minister of Defence.

In Italy, Minister Bernier will meet with Franco Frattini, Minister of Foreign Affairs, to discuss a broad range of issues of shared interest, notably Afghanistan, climate change and a closer Canada-European Union economic partnership.

While in the Holy See, the Minister will participate in the traditional weekly general audience with His Holiness Pope Benedict XVI.

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