Canada hails 'special friendship' with Israel

Canadian Foreign Minister John Baird hailed his country's "special friendship" with Israel in Jerusalem talks with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Tuesday.

The two men "reaffirmed the close and special friendship that underpins the bilateral relationship between our two countries," a joint statement said.

"Today, the Jewish people are masters of their own fate, like other nations, in their own sovereign, Jewish state.

"Like other nations, Israel has the right to defend itself, by itself," the statement said.

The two men also discussed Iran's nuclear programme, the Syrian conflict and relations between Israel and Turkey, aiming to strengthen the "security relationship" between Canada and Israel, it added.

Canada showed its support for Israel on the international stage in November last year, opposing the Palestinians' successful bid for upgraded status at the United Nations.

Baird held talks earlier in the day with Israeli President Shimon Peres.

On Sunday, he met Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas and prime minister Salam Fayyad in the West Bank city of Ramallah.