TORONTO: Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said his administration had inherited a 15 billion Canadian dollars ($11 billion) arms contract with Saudi Arabia it now wanted to scrap.
“The murder of a journalist is absolutely unacceptable and that’s why Canada from the very beginning had been demanding answers and solutions on that. Secondly, we inherited actually a $15-billion contract signed by Stephen Harper [Trudeau’s predecessor] to export light-armoured vehicles to Saudi Arabia. We are engaged with the export permits to try and see if there is a way of no longer exporting these vehicles to Saudi Arabia,” Trudeau told CTV.
The contact struck by the government of Harper in 2014 to supply 928 LAV 6 armoured personnel carriers to Saudi Arabia will cost Canada a billion in cancellation penalties.
The announcement comes amid pressure on the Saudi government to disclose what it knows about the murder of dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi at its consulate in Istanbul on October 2. According to Saudi authorities, some 21 individuals were arrested following an investigation of the murder, with 11 of them already facing charges.
Saudi officials have denied the involvement of the royal family, specifically of the crown prince, in Khashoggi’s killing. Riyadh insists that he was murdered as a result of a “rogue operation”.