Canada Set To Go Ahead With Saudi Arms Deal
By Staff, Agencies
Saudi Arabia is expecting Canada to follow through on its multibillion-dollar arms deal with the kingdom, despite a statement in December from Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau that his government was looking to extract itself from the agreement in light of the ongoing war on Yemen and the kingdom’s notorious record of human rights.
In this regard, Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir told a news conference on Monday, "Regarding the Canada arms deal, we see the Canadian government going ahead with the deal, so the statements are for domestic consumption."
Al-Jubeir did not elaborate further.
Relatively, a spokesperson for Canada's foreign ministry did not have an immediate response to NPR's request for comment.
Trudeau told CTV in an interview earlier in December that Canada is "engaged with the export permits to try and see if there is a way of no longer exporting these vehicles to Saudi Arabia."
He cited the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul as one reason to scrap the contract. Critics have also pointed to the Saudi involvement in the war in Yemen and other human rights abuses in an effort to pressure Ottawa to cancel the arms sale.
At the time, General Dynamics Corp. in Canada, which makes the armored vehicles for sale, warned that Ottawa would incur "billions of dollars of liability" if it unilaterally abandoned the agreement.
Trudeau indicated in October that his government's hands were tied by the contract, and that it would cost a penalty of $760 million to cancel the deal.
General Dynamics, for its part, declined to comment for this story.