OTTAWA, May 28. /TASS/. Canada has reached a multi-billion dollar arms deal with Saudi Arabia despite the state legislation that bans such agreements with the countries that violate human rights of their citizens, The Globe and Mail has reported.
"Ottawa aims to keep lid on details of Saudi arms deal," the newspaper reported.
"The Canadian government is refusing to make public the assessments it conducts to determine whether Ottawa’s $15-billion arms deal [12 billion US dollars] with Saudi Arabia is compatible with foreign policy or poses a risk to the civilian population in the country notorious for human-rights abuses," the report reads.
Canada’s Department of Foreign Affairs said it should keep deliberations secret regarding the deal, the largest export contract ever brokered by Ottawa, citing the need to protect the "commercial confidentiality" of General Dynamics Land Systems Canada. This firm makes light armored vehicles.
"Ottawa maintains this despite the fact that Foreign Affairs, by its own stated rules, is required to screen requests to export military goods to countries "whose governments have a persistent record of serious violations of the human rights of their citizens." Among other things, it must obtain assurances "there is no reasonable risk that the goods might be used against the civilian population," according to the report.