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    Canada Mute on How Arms Sales Deal With Riyadh Impacts Civilians - Reports

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    Ottawa has refused to disclose its analysis on whether a multi-billion-dollar contract on arms sales to Riyadh could pose a threat to civilians in Saudi Arabia, a country known for numerous human rights violations, the Canadian media reported Wednesday.

    MOSCOW (Sputnik) — In February 2014, Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper signed a $15-billion arms deal to sell fighting vehicles to Saudi Arabia, with the first deliveries expected to begin in 2016.

    Canada's Department of Foreign Affairs keeps the details regarding arms deal secret, citing "commercial confidentiality" for companies that produce military products, the Globe and Mail reported.

    "Permit applications from third parties are treated in confidence … this includes analysis conducted during their review," the news outlet quoted Amy Mills, a spokeswoman for Foreign Affairs, as saying.

    Canada signed the arms deal amid consistent reports of human rights abuses by Saudi Arabia and country's support for various terrorist organizations in the Middle East, a subject of media and watchdog scrutiny.

    Saudi Arabia is among countries supporting factions of the Syrian opposition, and is financing armed groups fighting government forces.

    In 2014, former Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri Maliki accused Riyadh of supporting terrorist attacks in Iraq.

    Since March 26, 2015, a Saudi-led coalition has been conducting airstrikes in Yemen against the opposition Houthi militant faction, who took control of large parts of the country, forcing the president to flee to Riyadh.

    According to UN estimates, some 650 civilians have been killed in Yemen since the Saudi-led military campaign began.

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    military cooperation, Stephen Harper, Saudi Arabia, Canada
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