OTTAWA – Prime Minister Justin Trudeau gave the impression to be inching nearer Wednesday to cancelling Canada’s $15-billion deal to promote mild armoured automobiles to Saudi Arabia.
On Tuesday, Trudeau appeared reluctant to cancel the deal, billed as the most important arms deal in Canadian historical past. He cited important monetary penalties – as a lot as $1 billion or extra – constructed into the contract signed by the earlier Conservative authorities.
READ MORE: It will value Canada $1B to cancel Saudi arms deal in wake of Khashoggi case, Trudeau says
However on Wednesday he mentioned Canadians anticipate there to be “penalties” for the brutal homicide of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, who was killed earlier this month after getting into the Saudi consulate in Turkey. And he urged his authorities is on the lookout for methods to cancel the arms contract with out triggering the penalties.
“We’re a taking a look at … suspending export permits, which is one thing we’ve finished up to now,” Trudeau mentioned on his method right into a Liberal caucus assembly.
“We’re additionally trying on the contract to try to see what we will do as a result of clearly, as we get readability on what really occurred to Jamal Khashoggi, Canadians and folks world wide will anticipate penalties.”
WATCH: Trudeau says ‘terrible lot of questions’ over how Khashoggi was ‘killed’ stay unanswered
The Saudi authorities has mentioned Khashoggi died in a fist combat, however Canada and different nations say Riyadh’s clarification lacks credibility and are calling for an in depth investigation.
Turkish officers say a 15-man Saudi hit squad – together with at the least one member of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s entourage – murdered and dismembered Khashoggi, whose physique has not been discovered.
Prince Mohammed mentioned Wednesday that the killing of Khashoggi is a “heinous crime that can not be justified.” He made the remark on the Future Funding Initiative, the second annual summit of world buyers in Riyadh.
READ MORE: Canada is ready to freeze Saudi arms deal if weapons misused, Trudeau says
Many worldwide enterprise leaders have pulled out of this yr’s summit over the killing of Khashoggi. However a number of Canadian corporations refuse to say whether or not they’re attending.
SNC-Lavalin, which has in depth enterprise ties with Saudi Arabia, is not going to say whether or not it has despatched anybody to the summit. Canaccord Genuity Group Inc., whose govt chairman was listed as a speaker eventually yr’s summit, and Bombardier Inc. didn’t reply to queries.
Different corporations that attended final yr – together with the Canada Pension Plan Funding Board and Brookfield Asset Administration Inc. – say they received’t be going this yr.
WATCH: ‘We’re gravely involved concerning the homicide of Jamal Khashoggi,’ says Chrystia Freeland
A senior authorities insider informed The Canadian Press final week that cupboard ministers, federal officers and embassy employees would even be skipping the summit.
Canada is just not the one nation soul-searching over its arms gross sales to Saudi Arabia within the wake of the Khashoggi killing.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel mentioned Sunday that continued arms exports to the regime “can’t happen within the scenario we’re at the moment in.” Her financial system minister known as Monday for a standard entrance on the difficulty by all European Union nations.
WATCH: Merkel says no arms for Saudi Arabia whereas Khashoggi questions stay
Merkel and Trudeau spoke over the cellphone Wednesday about Khashoggi’s killing, with each leaders reaffirming “their shared dedication to freedom of the press,” in keeping with a readout of the dialog.
Trudeau and Merkel “strongly agreed on the necessity for transparency and accountability for individuals who dedicated this act,” the readout acknowledged.
Whereas Slovakia and Czech Republic have signalled a willingness to debate the matter, Spain and the UK have rejected calls to finish arms exports to Saudi Arabia.
The USA – by far the most important provider of arms to the Gulf kingdom – has additionally balked, with President Donald Trump saying he doesn’t wish to lose a 10-year, $110-billion deal to promote arms to Saudi Arabia.
READ MORE: Saudi dissident in Quebec says individuals who ordered Khashoggi’s killing have been additionally after him
Amnesty Worldwide Canada blasted Trudeau on Wednesday for his concern over the monetary penalty for breaking Canada’s arms contract with Saudi Arabia.
“Human rights don’t and might by no means carry a price ticket,” mentioned the group’s secretary normal, Alex Neve.
“There’s nothing in Canada’s worldwide human rights obligations that units a monetary restrict on our duty to conform. Every other strategy could be unconscionable.”
WATCH: Khashoggi eerily foreshadows homicide in one in all his closing interviews
Neve additionally mentioned Canadians should know extra concerning the penalties, together with who would obtain the cash: Saudi Arabia or Common Dynamics Land Techniques, whose plant in London, Ont., is constructing the light-armoured automobiles. The federal government has to this point declined to supply particulars, citing business confidentiality.
— With information from The Related Press