Politics

It's 'imperative' that Canada repatriate its detained ISIS fighters, says Pompeo

It's 'imperative' that Canada repatriate its detained ISIS fighters, says Pompeo

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo today pointedly called on Canada to repatriate Canadian citizens who joined ISIS and are now detained in Syria.

"We want every country to take their citizens back. That's step one. It's imperative that they do so," said Pompeo in an interview with CBC News Network's Power & Politics. "Each country needs to take responsibility for their own citizens that travelled to Syria and fought as terrorists.

"We've been clear with the Canadian government. We want them to take their people back."

The top U.S. diplomat's remarks come one day after U.S. President Donald Trump threatened to release captured ISIS fighters into Europe.

"We're holding thousands of ISIS fighters right now. And Europe has to take them. And if Europe doesn't take them, I'll have no choice but to release them into the countries from which they came. Which is Germany and France and other places," said Trump.

Public Safety Minister Ralph Goodale said Tuesday on Power & Politics that the federal government will ensure that the law is applied, but Canada is not legally obliged to facilitate the return of Jack Letts, a captured Canadian citizen accused of joining ISIS.

Goodale said that the Canadian government's first obligation is to national security and the safety of Canadians.

Pompeo seemed to disagree with that stance Thursday.

"With respect to when we catch a terrorist — every nation has an obligation to make sure that they are not returned to the battlefield," said Pompeo.

The top U.S. diplomat refused to discuss whether the Canadian government has given the American government any assurances that Canada will repatriate these citizens.