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    Riyadh Skyline showing the King Abdullah Financial District (KAFD) and the famous Kingdom Tower

    EU Failed to Release Statement in Support of Ottawa in Row With Riyadh - Reports

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    MOSCOW (Sputnik) - The European Union has abandoned plans to issue a public statement in support of Canada in the country's diplomatic row with Saudi Arabia over a lack of agreement among all member-states, confining itself to raising human rights concerns in private during a meeting in Riyadh, the BuzzFeed News outlet reported, citing sources.

    On Friday a delegation of EU ambassadors handed a formal diplomatic note to Saudi Foreign Minister Adel Jubeir during a meeting, BuzzFeed reported on Monday. The move reportedly followed the bloc’s failure to endorse a joint public statement on the issue.

    An unnamed senior EU official, cited by the outlet, characterized the absence of a public statement as “sad,” pointing to the need to replace the bloc’s unanimity decision rule with a qualified majority system.

    READ MORE: Saudi Retaliation Follows Long History of Canada ‘Making Them Look Bad'

    The demarche in question reportedly concerned the Middle Eastern country’s human rights record. It also called for closer EU–Saudi cooperation and continuation of reforms in the kingdom. The Saudi minister, in turn, said that Riyadh had evidence that some of the detainees had connections with foreign entities, seeking foreign funds and passing them information, the media outlet’s source said.

    Jubeir reportedly defended the country’s right to move forward at its own pace and within the framework of its own system. He also added that all the Gulf countries except Qatar, members of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation and the Arab League, Russia, and several Asian nations had supported Riyadh in the row.

    Raif Badawi, creator of the Free Saudi Liberals website, was arrested in 2012 following criticism of Saudi clerics and religious police, as well as over allegations of insulting Islam. In 2014, he was sentenced to 10 years in prison. His wife and children later fled Saudi Arabia for Canada and received Canadian citizenship on July 1.

    Related:

    Trudeau Unapologetic as Saudi Arabia Accuses Canada of 'Blatant' Interference
    Saudi Energy Minister Assures Oil Exports to Canada Unaffected by Diplomatic Row
    Saudi Retaliation Follows Long History of Canada ‘Making Them Look Bad’
    Hajj Disrupted for Canadian Muslims as Saudi Airlines Cancel Flights Amid Spat
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    diplomatic crisis, Canada, Saudi Arabia
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