09:35 GMT25 May 2020
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    Washington sent mixed signals about where it stands on the recent diplomatic rift between Canada and Saudi Arabia in its first comments about the dispute, which involved a Saudi verified account on Twitter apparently threatening to attack Toronto 9/11-style.

    "We would encourage both governments to work out their issues together," US State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert told reporters Tuesday in Washington. "We can't do it for them; they need to resolve it together."

    An unnamed State Department official told the Huffington Post Monday, however, that it did not intend to take sides. "We are aware of Government of Saudi Arabia's statement recalling the Saudi ambassador to Canada and expelling Canada's ambassador. Canada and Saudi Arabia are both close allies of the United States. I refer you to the Canadian and Saudi Ministries of Foreign Affairs for further information," the official told HuffPost.

    The US and Canada are treaty allies under NATO, while the US and Saudi Arabia are technically not treaty allies.

    In light of the lukewarm response from Washington, Ottawa is asking the UK and the United Arab Emirates to help resolve the situation, Reuters reported Tuesday.

    The dispute was fueled by Canada's calls for Saudi Arabia to release human rights activists recently taken into custody by Saudi authorities. Riyadh condemned Ottawa, accusing it of interfering in Saudi Arabia's domestic affairs.

    The Saudi foreign minister also said Monday that Canada had "distorted" information, since the rights of the detained persons have been ensured by Saudi Arabia's legal system. "Canada's surprising position is based on distorted information, the detention of the people in question was carried out in accordance with our legal framework, which guarantees that their rights are protected," Sputnik Egypt reported.


    The Saudi side has taken a number of decisive steps against Canada, including expelling Canada's ambassador, announcing an end to new investment in Canada and suspending flights between Canada and the Gulf nation. Perhaps most alarming was a now-deleted tweet issued by @Infographic_ksa showing a Canadian passenger airliner flying toward - or into, depending on one's perspective - CN Tower in Toronto.


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