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Canada Cites Principled End of Relations with Iran, Merges Other Embassies

By Matthew Russell Lee

UNITED NATIONS, October 1 -- When Canada's foreign minister John Baird delivered his country's annual UN General Debate speech Monday morning, the General Assembly Hall had many empty seats.

  In the UN Media Center there were less than a dozen journalists, most of them paying no attention to Baird speaking on one of six screens projected in the front of the room.

  How far Canada has fallen, in the UN world, since its loud and unsuccessful run for a Security Council seat two years ago. It came in behind Germany and then Portugal, despite many arguing that the Council had and has too many European members.

   A number of diplomats from countries in the Arab and wider Muslim worlds said Canada's position on Palestine made their votes against Canada a "no-brainer," as one put it to Inner City Press.

   Baird on Monday focused on Syria, citing the"crimson tide of this bloody assault," then Iran, explaining that Canada broke off diplomatic relations "on principle."

  But since Canada is closing embassies and/or merging them into UK embassies, some see principal - money - as well as ideology.

   Canada still says it is the seventh largest donor to the UN.Baird is not on Secretary General Ban Ki-moon's scheduled on October 1, and there was no read out of a meeting last week. Watch this site.

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