Saudi Arabia calls for Canada to “correct its actions”
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau refused to yield to Saudi threats. He spoke for the first time of the diplomatic quarrel between Canada and the kingdom on Wednesday in Montreal.
OTTAWA | In the face of a diplomatic crisis escalating day by day, the Prime Minister of Canada on Wednesday refused to apologize for his government’s criticism of Saudi Arabia.
“Canada will always speak firmly and clearly in favor of human rights,” Justin Trudeau told a press conference in Montreal on Wednesday.
After notably freezing trade relations with Canada and launching a recall of its students in the country, Saudi Arabia has said it is determined to go even further, even demanding that Ottawa withdraws its criticisms of human rights. .
The Prime Minister refused to do the same, but was careful not to put oil on the fire.
“We do not want to have bad relations with Saudi Arabia,” he said, arguing that the Saudi regime, an ultra-conservative Muslim monarchy, had recently shown signs of openness.
“Canada can not back down,” commented Jocelyn Coulon, a researcher at the Center for International Studies and Research at the Université de Montréal and former political advisor to the Canadian Minister of Foreign Affairs.
In his opinion, however, the government must re-establish ties and seek appeasement so as not to further harm Canadian interests.
The same goes for New Democrat Hélène Laverdière. The former diplomat calls on Canada to remain firm, but stresses that “it is essential to maintain a dialogue”.
Both observers noted the government’s “hypocrisy” in its interventions with respect to the Muslim kingdom.
“Canada does not send a tweet when Saudi Arabia bombards Yemen,” said Coulon.
The diplomatic crisis erupted on Sunday after Saudi Arabia was outraged by a tweet from the Canadian Foreign Ministry calling for the release of human rights activists, including imprisoned blogger Samar Badawi’s sister Raif Badawi.
On the social network, Saudi Foreign Minister Abdel Al-Jubeir on Wednesday urged Canada to “correct its actions towards the kingdom.”
He indicated that he was still considering “additional measures” to those already in place (see other text).
Mr. Trudeau refused to criticize the lack of support from his allies on this issue, including the United States.
“I’m not going to dictate to other countries what their position should be,” responded Justin Trudeau.
Russian Foreign Minister Maria Zakharova, meanwhile, defended Saudi Arabia and said the regime did not need “criticism from a moral superior”.