After Germany, Canada may cancel arms deal with Saudi Arabia

WION Web Team Ottawa, ON, Canada Oct 22, 2018, 11.43 AM(IST)

File photo of Jamal Khashoggi. Photograph:( Reuters )

Story highlights

German chancellor Angela Merkel had asserted that Berlin could stop arms export to Saudi Arabia in the wake of Khashoggi's death.

After German chancellor Merkel declared on Sunday that the "limited arms exports" to Saudi Arabia would be relooked in the aftermath of Jamal Khashoggi's killing by Saudi officials in its Istanbul consulate, Canadian PM Trudeau went a step further and said multi-billion dollar defence contract with the Kingdom could be cancelled over human rights violation.

"If they do not follow these clauses, we will definitely cancel the contract," PM Trudeau said on the sale of light armoured vehicles worth $15 Canadian dollars.

Trudeau said "in this contract, there are clauses that must be followed in relation to the use of what is sold to them."

Under Canadian law equipment sales is linked to human rights violation against the country buying it while prohibiting its use against civilians. 

Although Saudi Arabia said it will conduct a thorough probe into the circumstances related to Khashoggi's killing, Canadian foreign minister Chrystia Freeland said the explanation was not credible.

In August, the Trudeau government had tweeted for the release of human rights activists in Saudi Arabia, including  Samar Badawi. Crown Prince Salman retaliated by expelling the Canadian ambassador and suspending trade ties.

On Sunday, German chancellor Angela Merkel had asserted that Berlin could stop arms export to Saudi Arabia in the wake of Khashoggi's death.

"I agree with all those who say when it comes to our already limited arms exports (to Saudi Arabia) that they cannot take place in the current situation," the German chancellor told reporters.

Echoing Canadian foreign minister's thoughts, German foreign minister Heiko Maas there was "no basis for decisions in favour of arms exports to Saudi Arabia".

Germany had last month had approved $480 million worth of arms exports to Saudi Arabia this year. 

"We are far from seeing everything on the table and the perpetrators being brought to justice,"  Merkel said.

Britain, France and Germany had earlier issued a joint statement asking Saudi Arabia to clarify on Khashoggi's death "backed by facts".