Home News Canada and Saudi Arabia renew diplomatic relations after a dispute over human rights in 2018

Canada and Saudi Arabia renew diplomatic relations after a dispute over human rights in 2018

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Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman delivers a speech during the Gulf Summit in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, December 14, 2021.

Saudi Bandar News Agency | charitable | via Reuters

Canada and Saudi Arabia have agreed to resume diplomatic relations, ending a five-year dispute sparked by human rights concerns.

The decision, announced by the two foreign ministries on Wednesday evening, follows discussions between Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman on the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Forum summit in Bangkok last November.

Saudi Arabia and Canada said that this reflects “the desire of the two parties to restore diplomatic relations between the two countries on the basis of mutual respect.”

Canada has appointed Jean-Philippe Linto, who most recently served as the country’s Consul General in Dubai, as Ottawa’s new ambassador to Saudi Arabia. Riyadh has not yet announced its ambassador.

Diplomatic relations between the two countries collapsed in the summer of 2018, just months before the murder of dissident Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi in October, prompting widespread criticism of Riyadh from Western partners. Canada lit the spark Loudspeaker It expressed deep concern about the additional arrests of civil society and women’s rights activists, as well as an appeal to the Saudi authorities for their “immediate release.”

Riyadh at that time Skilled Canadians position as a “blatant interference in the kingdom’s internal affairs” and a “violation of the most basic international standards”. The kingdom quickly responded by freezing new trade and investment transactions, giving the Canadian ambassador 24 hours to get out of the country and halting medical treatment programs in the North American country.

Official Canadian data says the North American country’s exports to Saudi Arabia amounted to C$2.2 billion ($1.62 billion) in 2021, 81% of which was transportation equipment. Canada’s imports from Saudi Arabia amounted to 2.4 billion Canadian dollars during the same period.

The normalization of relations with Canada is the latest in Saudi Arabia’s apparent moves to seek diplomatic stability, fostering a growth environment for its plans to further diversify its trillion-dollar economy away from its historical dependence on fossil fuels.

In early March, Riyadh agreed to revive relations with rival Iran in a deal brokered by China, while US President Joe Biden finally met the crown prince in July last year, with the aim of “resetting” Washington’s relationship with its ally in the Middle East. . .

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