Canada, US foreign ministers discuss Canada-Saudi Arabia row, sanctions on Iran


The detention of several rights activists has triggered an escalating diplomatic row between the Saudi Arabia and Canada. Its Foreign Ministry counter-tweeted [.] Further, it issued a warning: "Any further step from the Canadian side in that direction will be considered as acknowledgment of our right to interfere in the Canadian domestic affairs".

Worldwide human rights groups and German parliamentarians have called on the European Union and the government of Chancellor Angela Merkel to "publically and unequivocally" support Canada in its dispute with Saudi Arabia, Germany's Deutsche Welle newspaper reported. The Saudis have also called their ambassador back from Canada, suspended all new businesses transactions and investments linked with Canada and cancelled direct flights to Toronto by Saudi's state airline. Saudi response is justified in that some countries are in the habit of interfering in internal affairs of other countries on the pretext of human rights.

2 Aug Freeland called for the release of Raif Badawi and Samar, and the next day her office issued further criticism and again demanded the "immediate release" Samar Badawi and all peaceful human rights defenders.

The Saudi reaction is also evidence of Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman's harsher worldwide diplomacy compared to the previous, "softer" diplomacy, analysts say.

If Canada had concerns it should have raised them directly with Saudi Arabia, not in public, he added.

Analysts are now not sure how the feud will unfold, but Aurel Braun, a professor of political science and worldwide relations at the University of Toronto, told Canada's Global News that Saudi Arabia is unlikely to back down and reverse all its retaliatory measures without getting something back from Canada.

"We continue to engage diplomatically, but as I've said, Canada will always be very clear on standing up for human rights", Trudeau said Monday when asked about the diplomatic dispute. This is significant for the Kingdom's Vision 2030 plans to position Saudi Arabia as a centre for worldwide business interconnecting Asia, Europe and Africa.