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The termination of the Saudi arms deal would be futile, according to a former Canadian ambassador to the kingdom



Light Armored Vehicles (LAVs) are parked at General Dynamics Land Systems plant in London, Ontario on April 13, 2016.

Dave Chidley / CP

The former Canadian ambassador to Saudi Arabia warns that the expulsion of Canadian armored vehicles in the kingdom, as Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says he wants to do, would be a vain gesture that would only hurt employment in this country.

"I do not think it achieves anything, be completely honest," Dennis Horak said. "The Saudis – if they do not get them – are disillusioned and stormy, they are likely to want some of their money back but it has no effect on their behavior.

His remarks came when Mr Trudeau spoke on Sunday permanently when he was arrested by light-armored vehicles (LAV) in Saudi Arabia because Riyad was arrested for being condemned by the devastating war in neighboring Yemen and the assassination of dissident Jamal Khashoggi.

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"We are involved with export permits to try to see if it is the way to export these vehicles to Saudi Arabia," Trudeau told CTV question Period on Sunday.

His most recent remarks are the clearest indication that the liberal government has seriously decided the massive agreement that Ottawa conveyed by selling armored vehicles to Riyadh, worth more than $ 15 billion over 14 years.

Horak was a Canadian ambassador to Saudi Arabia this summer when Riad proclaimed him persona non grata and expelled him for a serious death with Ottawa with the Trudeau Government's public call to release detained civil rights protesters in the Mideast country. He's retired.

The former ambassador said that withdrawing or suspending exports would not affect Saudi Arabia because it is already a major international criticism of the murder of Mr. Khashoggi and the loss of Yemen. The UN has called for the Yemeni war "the humanitarian crisis of the worst human being in our time".

Mr. Horak said he was not sure what the Trudeau Government's goal was, "apart from the political quest to send a message, but a message that is in any way ignored or ignored." People who are going to pay are in London, Ontario. "

Lightly armored vehicles are assembled in London, Ont., Where US defense contractor General Dynamics, a Canadian subsidiary, has its factory.

The agreement has about 1 850 direct jobs and thousands more indirectly.

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General Dynamics warned on Monday that the Canadian government faced major penalties if it annulled the agreement. "If Canada would unilaterally terminate the agreement, Canada would have billions of dollars in liability for General Dynamics Land Systems in Canada," said the company in its statement. It stated that such a measure would "have a considerable negative impact on our skilled workers, our supply chain in the Canadian and Canadian defense sector extensively."

The General Dynamics warning reminds what Mr Trudeau said on October 25 when he told Canadians "the possible punishments would be billions of dollars".

In October, Mr Trudeau raised the idea of ​​postponing the current export licenses underlying the LAV trade as a means of exerting pressure on Saudi Arabia to become more specific to Mr Khashzi's.

The defenders of human rights and former political adviser Trudeau Roland Paris have asked for the suspension of their permission, a measure that would end the broadcasts at least temporarily. The LAVs, when rotating from the assembly line, are currently being transported to Saint John's port where they are loaded on cargo ships tied to Saudi Arabia.

Rapporteur Cesar Jaramillo, Project Aragones Director of the Arms Control Lawyer, said he was uncertain about Trudeau's willingness to act. Even if direct cancellations could lead to penalties, suspension of export licensing agreements could result in the same, but not automatically expensive, fines.

"If Ottawa seriously considers the end of the LAV export to Riad, why did not it stop sending weapons to Saudi Arabia when the legal issues of withdrawal are resolved?" The arms dispatches to the kingdom have been suspended apparently without financial punishment in Canada, "he said.

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"It's been nearly two months since the Prime Minister said that Canada would not hesitate to freeze exports of arms exports to Saudi Arabia, but everyone speaks and does not just give the creature an illusion."

Horak said that suspension of export permits could reduce the scope of action.

Economic Implications for London, Ont. And the surrounding area is a major challenge for the Liberals if they suspend or revoke LAV exports, he said, especially since General Motors announced in November that it would shut down its factory in Oshawa, Ont. , and the abandonment of nearly 3,000 people.

"I think this government has not considered this agreement from the beginning, but they are worried about jobs, and the last thing they want is another 3,000 jobs from the door," Horak said.

One option would be for the Canadian military to take over the LAV store and buy the rest of the armored vehicles. The deal is expected to contain more than 740 vehicles, and it is unknown how many have been delivered to Saudi Arabia so far.

It is not certain that the Canadian armed forces need more LAVs. The $ 1.8 billion program, which significantly improves the Canadian Army's LAVs from the LAV 3.0 model to the LAV 6.0 model, is already well underway. More than 600 vehicles are transformed with new technology and parts.

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Retired chief David Fraser said it was not clear how the Canadian army could accommodate another LAV purchase. Fighting vehicles assembled in Saudi are the second option in the LAV 6.0 model.

"The government should answer the question of why you would buy vehicles when you actually equipped with new military vehicles?

"You just bought the 2017 Chevrolet and now are you going to go out and buy the same model from 2018 Chevrolet?" He asked.


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