Canada is prepared to freeze a big arms deal with Saudi Arabia if it concludes the weapons have been misused, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said on Monday, amid increasing pressure to punish Riyadh for the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, Reuters reports.
Trudeau’s comments signalled Ottawa might halt a 2014 contract that the Canadian unit of US weapons maker General Dynamics Corp won to supply light-armoured vehicles. The deal is worth up to $13 billion.
Trudeau condemned the death of Khashoggi and said Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland had been talking to allies to discuss the next steps.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Monday called the killing a “monstrosity” and vowed to halt German arms exports to Saudi Arabia until the case is cleared up.
Freeland said on Saturday that the kingdom’s explanations on the death of Khashoggi at its consulate in Istanbul lacked credibility.
UK arms sales to Saudi Arabia had increased in 2017 by two thirds, according to British media reports.
From 2016 to 2017, UK military sales to the Saudis went up by two thirds, Sky News reported on Thursday.
The UK sold at least £450 million more to Saudi Arabia in 2017 than 2016, with the true figure likely to be higher, Sky News said.
Reports of UK arms sales to Saudi Arabia come out as business figures pull out of an upcoming investment conference scheduled to be held in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia on October 23.
The so-called Future Investment Initiative Summit, which has been dubbed Davos in the Desert, has been cancels by governments, executives and chiefs of international companies after the scandalous incident involving the disappearance of Saudi-national Jamal Khashoggi.
Khashoggi, who was a dissident journalist, entered the Saudi embassy in Istanbul and never came out, according to Turkish police.
Saudi Arabia has also been facing humiliating criticism over its brutal aggression in Yemen. Thousands of innocent civilians, including women and children, have died as a result of the brutal Saudi-led campaign in Yemen.
The US sold $55.6 billion worth of weapons to foreign governments in fiscal 2018, reaching a 33-percent increase in comparison to the previous year’s total.
Lieutenant General Charles Hooper, director of the Defense Security Cooperation Agency, told Reuters on Tuesday that the US foreign military sales hit 55.6 billion dollars in the fiscal year ending September 30
The United States sold over $40 billion worth of weapons last year, maintaining its position as the world’s dominant arms supplier.
Before his presidency, Trump described Saudi Arabia as “a milk cow” which would be slaughtered when its milk runs out.
US President Donald Trump says he is not willing to throw away billions of dollars in military deals with Saudi Arabia over the suspected murder of a prominent Saudi journalist at the hands of the Riyadh regime’s death squads in Turkey.
In a separate interview, Trump told Fox News that while he didn’t “like” the incident and had assigned investigators to get to the bottom of the issue, relations with Saudi Arabia remained “excellent.”
“We want to find out what happened,” Trump said. “He went in and it doesn’t look like he came out.”
However, the US president has shown no real interest in tangling with the Saudis.
On the contrary, the American president has proudly boasted that his dealings with Saudis help the regime to stay afloat while creating jobs back home.
In March 2015, the US -backed –Saudi-led coalition started a war against Yemen with the declared aim of crushing the Houthi Ansarullah movement, who had taken over from the staunch Riyadh ally and fugitive former president Abd Rabbuh Mansur Hadi, while also seeking to secure the Saudi border with its southern neighbor. Three years and over 60,000 dead and injured Yemeni people and prevented the patients from travelling abroad for treatment and blocked the entry of medicine into the war-torn country, the war has yielded little to that effect.
Despite the coalition claims that it is bombing the positions of the Ansarullah fighters, Saudi bombers are flattening residential areas and civilian infrastructures.
More than 2,200 others have died of cholera, and the crisis has triggered what the United Nations has described as the world’s worst humanitarian disaster.
However, Saudi Arabia relies heavily on the US in its brutal war on Yemen. Washington has deployed a commando force on the Arab kingdom’s border with Yemen to help destroy arms belonging to Yemen’s popular Houthi Ansarullah movement. Washington has also provided logistical support and aerial refueling.