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U.S. will do ‘everything it can’ to free two Michaels, Kamala Harris tells Trudeau

U.S. Vice-President Kamala Harris told Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Monday that the United States will do everything it can to bring Canadians Michael Kovrig and Michael Spavor home from China, according to a statement from the White House.

Harris made the pledge in a conversation with Trudeau. A source familiar with the call, who was not permitted to speak publicly, told media that the vice-president brought up the plight of the two Michaels without being prompted.

“The vice-president also expressed strong solidarity with Canada regarding the issue of two Canadian citizens unjustly detained by China, and she made clear that the United States would continue to do everything it can to secure their release,” said a readout of the call put out by the White House.

A readout is a statement describing what was discussed during a call between world leaders. Typically both parties issue one after such calls.

In the readout sent out by the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) on Monday, Trudeau thanked Harris for the support to free the two Michaels. 

Kovrig and Spavor were detained in China on Dec. 10, 2018 — nine days after Meng Wanzhou, the chief financial officer of Huawei Technologies, was arrested by Canadian officials while she was changing planes in Vancouver.

Meng was arrested on a U.S. extradition request over allegations she lied to a Hong Kong banker in August 2013 about Huawei’s control of a subsidiary accused of violating U.S. sanctions against Iran.

The arrest and detention of Kovrig and Spavor are widely seen as an act of reprisal for Meng’s arrest. Both men face charges of spying for Canada.

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