Canada Requests UAE, UK to Diffuse Tensions with Saudi Arabia

As per reports, Canada has requested the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and the United Kingdom (UK) to help to defuse the escalating feud with Saudi Arabia. Earlier, Saudi Arabia reacted with anger when Canada criticized Riyadh for jailing Samar Badawi, the sister of imprisoned Saudi writer Raif Badawi.

One of the sources, speaking on conditions of anonymity, said that the essential task for Canada is to work closely with its allies, especially the United Arab Emirates, in order to de-escalate the situation with Riyadh.

Another source said that the government of Canadian PM Justin Trudeau planned to ask the UK for assistance. On Tuesday, London urged Ottawa and Riyadh to show maximum restraint in their diplomatic tiff while adding that it shares Ottawa’s concern about the human rights situation in Saudi Arabia.

Meanwhile, the UAE, in addition to Bahrain, Yemen, Sudan, Oman, Jordan, Kuwait, the Arab League and the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) have expressed their support for Riyadh.

Canada’s close ally and neighbour the United States has made it clear that it will not get involved and maintains that both nations should mutually look to resolve the diplomatic impasse.

This all started when Canada’s Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland said that she was “deeply concerned” to learn that Samar Badawi, the sister of imprisoned Saudi writer Raif Badawi, had been jailed by Saudi authorities for her work as a human rights activist.

Raif Badawi was arrested in 2012 and sentenced to 10 years in jail for criticizing Saudi Arabia’s Muslim clerics and the powerful religious police. Badawi was also blamed for insulting Islam and of committing cybercrimes. His wife and their three children presently reside in Canada.

Riyadh responded aggressively to Freeland’s remarks by recalling its ambassador from Ottawa, declaring the Canadian envoy a persona non grata, freezing new trade contracts with Canada, suspending all joint educational programs and recalling/transferring its students from the country.

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