Alwaght- Saudi Arabia’s foreign minister called on Canada to stop treating the oil-rich kingdom like a “banana republic” and demanded the government of Justin Trudeau to apologize for calling for the release of jailed human rights activists.
Canada and Saudi Arabia are locked in a diplomatic dispute early in August when Canada’s foreign ministry issued a statement in which it lashed out at Riyadh for the detention of the women rights activists and called on the regime immediately released them. Shortly after, the Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland in a Twitter post blasted detention of Samar Badawi and Nassima al-Sadah, two Saudi women rights activists. Canada’s statements were strongly responded to by the Saudi regime which fast announced the suspension of diplomatic relations with Ottawa.
Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir took the dispute to the United Nations, where he said Riyadh refuses to be lectured to over human rights.
“It is outrageous from our perspective that a country will sit there and lecture us and make demands. ‘We demand the immediate release’... Really?" said Jubeir at the Council on Foreign Relations in New York on Wednesday night.
He sarcastically equated Ottawa’s demand from the kingdom to a call by Riyadh for “the immediate release and independence of Quebec, granting of equal rights to Canadian Indians.”
“You can criticize us about human rights, women’s rights ... others do and that’s your right. You can sit down and talk about it, but demand the immediate release? What are we a banana republic? Would any country accept it? No! We don’t,” Jubeir added.
Jubeir further said that his country would not “want to be a political football in Canada’s domestic politics. Find another ball to play with. It’s very easy to fix. Apologize and say you made a mistake.”
Canada’s foreign minister, however, stressed on Tuesday that her country would not be changing its fundamental position, saying, “Canada will always stand up for human rights.”
Amnesty International and the HRW warned in August about the situation of the women, saying the Saudi regime is seeking to impose the death penalty against some of the imprisoned women. The Amnesty International called on Riyadh to “end its crackdown” rather than “lash out with punitive diplomatic and trade sanctions.”