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Canada to host first women foreign ministers meeting

Canada is set to host the first meeting of women foreign ministers in September, officials said Wednesday.

The meeting will take place in Montreal on September 21 and 22 while the UN General Assembly is underway in New York, Canada's foreign ministry spokesman Adam Austen said. The event will be hosted by Canada's Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland, along with the European Union's foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini, according to a statement by the EU. There are currently about 30 women in the world leading their countries' diplomacy: eight in Europe (including Mogherini), ten in Latin America and the Caribbean; five in Africa (including South Africa); ten in Latin America and the Caribbean, and others in Asia, including India, Indonesia and Australia. Ottawa has not yet confirmed how many ministers will attend the meeting in Quebec. "We know that promoting gender equality is essential for our prosperity as well as peace and security in the world," Austen told AFP. "The first meeting of women foreign ministers will provide a unique opportunity to reinforce this commitment through a general discussion of key issues facing the world, such as peace and security, climate change and terrorism, in addition to putting forward the perspective of women leaders," he continued. Austen added that Canada hoped the event would mark the beginning of a tradition of cooperation among the women ministers. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has made gender equality one of the key planks of his government policy. When he came to power, he formed a cabinet with an equal division between men and women. sab/jl/ia/dw DM

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