TORONTO (Pakistan Point News / Sputnik - 10th April, 2020) Canada is revising the terms of a $10 billion armored vehicle deal with Saudi Arabia to include more review protocols and transparency measures, Foreign Minister Francois-Philippe Champagne announced in a statement.
The Canadian government was roundly condemned after failing to cancel the multi-billion-dollar deal with the Saudi government following the premeditated murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul.
"The government undertook negotiations to improve the terms of the contract. Today, we are announcing that, as a result of these negotiations, we have been able to secure significant improvements to the contract," Champagne said on Thursday. "We are announcing the creation of an arms-length advisory panel of experts who will review best practices regarding arms exports by state parties to the United Nations Arms Trade Treaty [ATT] to ensure that our system is as robust as possible."
The revised agreement states that Canada will not face liability should delivery of the equipment be hindered as a result of misuse of the contractually stated purpose of the vehicles and that Canadian officials will now be allowed to be more transparent about certain terms of the agreement.
Champagne revealed that the contract was forged under Saudi laws and that the terms of the deal were bound by a strict confidentiality clause, which barred the Canadian government from publicly discussing the particulars of the agreement.
Canada's top diplomat said that the cancellation of or public discourse about the terms of the contract would have resulted in extensive damage claims against Canada and had a devastating impact on Canadian workers and the country's military-industrial complex.
Khashoggi, a columnist for the Washington Post, went missing in October 2018 after entering the Saudi consulate in Istanbul. Riyadh initially denied any knowledge of the journalist's whereabouts but eventually admitted that Khashoggi was killed and dismembered inside the embassy.
In December, a Saudi court sentenced five suspects in Khashoggi's murder to death and jailed another three for a total of 24 years in a trial that many, including governments and human rights advocacy groups, have criticized as covering up the incident. Notably, both al-Qahtani and al-Asiri were cleared of any wrongdoing.