Tuesday, 20 November, 2018


Canada to ask UK, UAE to help end Saudi Arabia rift

Canada to ask UK, UAE to help end Saudi Arabia rift Canada to ask UK, UAE to help end Saudi Arabia rift
Bennie Garza | 10 August, 2018, 13:29

The Islamic Kingdom made the decision in retaliation to a Global Affairs Canada's tweet that expressed concerns about the arrests of civil society and women's rights activists in the country, such as Samar Badawi.

The Saudi government on Sunday recalled its ambassador to Ottawa, barred Canada's ambassador to Riyadh and placed a ban on new trade, denouncing Canada for urging the release of rights activists.

Samar was recently arrested for her vocal protests and activism against the repressive "male guardianship system" within Saudi Arabia for which she won the U.S. International Women of Courage Award in 2012.

The first source said Canada shared the view of foreign policy experts who believe the Saudi reaction reflected internal strains inside the kingdom, where 32-year-old Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman is trying to push through domestic reforms.

The Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights estimates that at least 15 human rights defenders and women's rights activists critical of the Saudi government had been arrested or detained arbitrarily since 15 May.

Saudi Arabia also froze all trade with Canada and, according to the Saudi government-owned Al-Arabiya news agency, will transfer all students studying in Canada who are receiving government scholarships to other countries.

Raif Badawi was sentenced to 10 years in prison and 1,000 lashes for "insulting Islam" online back in 2014.

"We want to continue to talk about the fact that women and men should have equality in this country and other countries", she said.

"As of Tuesday August 7, 2018, Saudi Grains Organization (SAGO) can no longer accept milling wheat or feed barley cargoes of Canadian origin to be supplied", a copy of the notice seen by Reuters said.

Describing both countries as "friends" and "partners" of the USA, the State Department on Tuesday called on both countries to resolve the issue "diplomatically".

Guido Steinberg, a Middle East expert at the German Institute for global and Security Affairs, believes there are two reasons why Saudi Arabia has reacted so harshly to the statements from the Canadian Foreign Ministry.

This included a Tweet suggesting a 9/11-style attack on Toronto.

"Aviation analyst Alex Macheras said the account was connected to the Saudi royal court".

The State Department sought for a second day to avoid inflaming a spiraling diplomatic row between Saudi Arabia and Canada Tuesday, calling on both sides to sort out their differences over a delicate human rights dispute.

Ensaf Haidar, Raif Badawi's wife, who lives in Quebec with her three children, said Monday she was surprised when she heard about the two new arrests. These are just a few diplomatic sanctions Saudi Arabia has imposed on Canada in the wake of a tweet over jailed Saudi activists by Canadian officials.

"Saudi Arabia is a strong country and doesn't need Canada, Germany or even America", he told DW.

Canada's relationship with Saudi Arabia has been cordial in the past, which has sometimes stoked controversy at home.

"Saudi Arabia is shooting itself in the foot".

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