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Halifax International Security Forum opens today with focus on Ukraine war

HALIFAX — About 300 delegates are gathering today in Halifax for the city’s annual forum on global security.

Most of the sessions are about the war in Ukraine, but Hamas’s Oct. 7 attack on Israel and the resulting Israeli military’s invasion of the Gaza Strip will be covered.

Attending the three-day Halifax International Security Forum is Ehud Barak, Israel prime minister from 1999 to 2001, who will participate in a discussion on Saturday.

The first plenary on Friday is titled, “Making the World Safe Again: Victory in Ukraine” and will include Canadian Defence Minister and conference host Bill Blair.

Also scheduled to attend are United States Senators James Risch and Jeanne Shaheen, U.S. special representative for Ukraine’s economic recovery Penny Pritzker, and Roger Carstens, special presidential envoy for hostage affairs.

Forum president Peter Van Praagh said in a news release Thursday that he deliberately chose to keep the focus of the event on Ukraine, not the war in the Gaza Strip, because switching the theme would have played into the agenda of non-democratic nations.

“Now (Russian President Vladimir) Putin is working to shift the world’s democracies’ attention — and their generous support for Ukraine — to other theatres,” he said.

“The world’s democracies must come together to stop this multi-front attack.”

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 17, 2023.

The Canadian Press