Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says Ottawa is ready to halt a $13 billion arms deal with Riyadh if it concludes the weapons have been misused.
“We strongly demand and expect that Canadian exports are used in a way that fully respects human rights,” Trudeau said in the Parliament on Monday.
“We have frozen export permits before when we had concerns about their potential misuse and we will not hesitate to do so again,” he added.
Canada has been exporting arms to Saudi Arabia based on a 2014 contract, which is worth up to $13 billion. The contact, won by the Canadian unit of US weapons maker General Dynamics Corp, allows Canada to supply Saudis with light-armored vehicles.
Trudeau’s comments on halting the huge arms deal came amid increasing pressure to punish Riyadh for the killing of dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.
The Canadian PM condemned the journalist’s death and said Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland had been talking to allies to discuss the next steps.
Back on Saturday, Freeland had noted that the Saudi explanations on the death of Khashoggi at its consulate in Istanbul lacked credibility and consistency.
“There are very important questions about the entire relationship with Saudi Arabia that need to be asked,” she told reporters on Monday.