Canada hopes that the United Arab Emirates and Britain will help to defuse its escalating dispute with Saudi Arabia, Reuters reported, citing sources familiar with the matter.
One of the sources, speaking on conditions of anonymity, said that the key task for Ottawa is to work closely with its regional friends and allies, above all the United Arab Emirates, in order to defuse the situation.
On Tuesday, London urged Canada and Saudi Arabia to show maximum restraint in their diplomatic spat while adding that it shares Ottawa’s concern about the human rights situation in Saudi Arabia.
Meanwhile, the United Arab Emirates, just like Bahrain, Yemen, Sudan, Oman, Jordan, Kuwait, the League of Arab States and the Gulf Cooperation Council, have expressed their support for Riyadh.
Canada’s close ally, the United States, has made it clear that it will not get involved and believes that Ottawa and Riyadh should jointly look for a way out of the conflict.
On Thursday, 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 behind bars for criticizing Muslim clerics and the country’s religious police. He was also accused of insulting Islam and of committing cybercrimes. His wife and their three children currently live in Canada.
Riyadh responded to Freeland’s statement by recalling its ambassador from Ottawa, declaring the Canadian envoy to the kingdom a persona non grata and giving him 24 hours to leave the country.
Saudi Arabia also froze new trade and investment contacts with Canada, suspended all joint educational programs and announced that Saudi students would no longer be going to study in Canada.