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RSS FeedsOttawa was surprised by Saudi Arabia´s angry reaction to its human rights concerns
(The Star Food)


10 august 2018 23:26:32

Ottawa was surprised by Saudi Arabia´s angry reaction to its human rights concerns
(The Star Food)

OTTAWA—Federal officials were caught off guard by Saudi Arabia’s angry response to Ottawa’s social media criticism of the detention of several activists, saying that Canada’s message was little different than what had been conveyed publicly and privately in the past. The tweets sent by Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland and her department set off a diplomatic firestorm that saw Saudi Arabia’s leaders accuse Canada of “blatant” interference in the kingdom’s affairs and react with a series of retaliatory measures.Yet Canada has been voicing concerns broadly about human rights in Saudi Arabia and specifically on the case of jailed Saudi blogger Raif Badawi “and our stated concern that it’s inconsistent with their commitment to reform,” a senior official told the Star Friday.“This is going back months,” said the official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the topic.“It is interesting to see this reaction now, given that this is not necessarily new,” the official said.For example, at a meeting of the Organization for Islamic Cooperation in Bangladesh in May, Freeland held a bilateral meeting with her Saudi counterpart, foreign minister Adel al-Jubeir, and those topics were part of their discussions then and in a follow-up phone call several weeks later, the official said.Read more:On Saudi Arabia, Canada’s stance is principled — but conflicted Determined diplomacy needed to mend relations between Canada and Saudi Arabia, experts sayWhat Canada’s Saudi episode tells us about our worldTrudeau has been talking about the case of Badawi for several years, telling reporters in 2016 for example, that he was concerned and was ensuring that then-foreign affairs minister Stephane Dion was doing everything he could to get him released.In the Commons, Liberal, Conservative and New Democrat MPs have spoken out about Badawi’s ...
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