#CBC: « Ex-ambassador delivers aggressive defence of Saudi arms deal  » #Toronto #Montreal #Calgary #Ottawa #Canada


Canada’s former ambassador to Saudi Arabia — who was expelled from the nation this summer season after Ottawa had a falling out with Riyadh over human rights — has delivered a blunt, tenacious defence of the $15 billion deal to promote mild armoured automobiles to the dominion.

In a current interview with CBC News, Dennis Horak insisted the troops carriers, a few of them closely armed, are for defensive functions — and that if we will promote weapons to a different nation, we’ve to simply accept they are going for use.

« They’re used to defend their country, » he stated Tuesday. « That’s why we sold them. »

The remarks have raised the ire of Amnesty International, which has lengthy opposed the deal and now says it is curious {that a} diplomat kicked out over some extent of precept would stick up for such a regime.

Meanwhile, a defence professional who has intently adopted developments with the contract stated Horak’s remarks are important as a result of they underline a query the Liberal authorities has sought to keep away from: Should Canada be within the arms enterprise in any respect?

The former Conservative authorities signed the Saudi arms deal in 2014. Horak stated that, to his data, the highly-advanced LAV 6s haven’t been utilized in Saudi Arabia’s brutal, and extremely controversial, conflict in neighbouring Yemen.

« It’s a good deal for Canada. It was a good deal at the time and I still think it’s a good deal for Canada, » Horak stated.

« The equipment we’re selling is governed by (the) export controls regime, which is strong and it’s enforced, and we’ve been selling some of this equipment to them for more than 25 years. We don’t have a record of them using these particular vehicles and this equipment for abusing human rights. »

The disappearance and attainable homicide of Saudi journalist and commentator Jamal Khashoggi​ has reignited the talk about whether or not Canada ought to pull out of the armoured automobile sale.

‘They’re gonna use them’

There have been comparable calls over the summer season when Riyadh barred Horak from returning to the nation and froze all new commerce with Canada.

Cancelling the deal, the previous ambassador stated, may make some opponents of the Saudi regime really feel higher, however it will not change Saudi coverage or behaviour.

He stated he acknowledges that a variety of Canadians are uncomfortable with the arms business — and so they deserve a public debate.

« When countries have arms and they’re in wars, they’re gonna use them. And I think we have to expect that if we’re going to be in the arms industry, » he stated.

Canada offered an earlier era of armoured combating automobiles to the dominion within the late 1990s and early 2000s. Horak stated he isn’t sure whether or not these automobiles have been used on the border with Yemen.

« You have to have the expectation that they maybe use (them) some time and if they’re used on the Yemeni border … it’s a very violent border. »

The Yemen conflict, he added, is brutal and desires to finish.

Alex Neve, the secretary normal of Amnesty International Canada, stated he discovered Horak’s remarks each galling and stunning, coming from a diplomat who was expelled over his authorities’s human rights considerations.

The undeniable fact that « it’s a very violent border is no justification for turning a blind eye to war crimes and human rights violations, » he stated.

Canada and the arms commerce

Thomas Juneau, a Middle East professional on the University of Ottawa, stated Horak’s remarks are affordable — however in addition they increase an vital level in regards to the arms business.

The former Conservative authorities had no qualms about promoting weapons to different international locations and tried to spice up exports of Canadian-made arms.

However, the Liberals, who ran within the final election on toughening the nation’s export guidelines on weapons, have grown more and more uncomfortable with the arms commerce.

They have averted a debate about whether or not Canada ought to be within the weapons-making enterprise in any respect, Juneau stated.

« I would want us to have more of an open debate on the issue of selling weapons to a country like Saudi Arabia, or others for that matter, » he stated.

« This is a very important, a very relevant debate that we’ve never fully had in this country … the Liberal government has decided, pretty early on in 2016 and 2017, (that) we will uphold the deal with Saudi Arabia. But basically we don’t want to talk about it. »

He stated Canadians ought to « talk about it as a country because it is an issue with serious consequences. »

Note: « Previously Published on: 2018-10-16 19:20:16, as ‘Ex-ambassador delivers aggressive defence of Saudi arms deal

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