17:10 GMT +318 October 2018
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    Riyadh Skyline showing the King Abdullah Financial District (KAFD) and the famous Kingdom Tower

    Saudi Minister Urges Canada to Apologize for Demanding Release of Activists

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    NEW YORK (Sputnik) - Canada should apologize to Riyadh for demanding immediate release of human rights activists and admit it had made a mistake, Saudi Foreign Minister Adel Jubeir said at a session of the Council on Foreign Relations think tank.

    "It is outrageous, from our perspective, that a country will sit there and lecture us and make demands… What are we, a banana republic? Would any country accept this? No, we don't. You do this, you play into the hands of the extremists who are opposing our reform process. If we don't take steps, it means that we are weak. If we take steps, we damage the relationship with a friendly country. We didn't do this, you did. Fix it. You owe us an apology," Jubeir said Wednesday, asked about the recent stand-off with Canada.

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    The foreign minister added that Riyadh was open to a conversation on human rights but would not tolerate being lectured.

    "It is very easy to fix, apologize, say you made a mistake," Jubeir stressed.

    The Saudi foreign minister said that the charges against the detainees had been explained to the Canadian ambassador, including the fact that the detention had been motivated by security concerns.

    In August, the Canadian Foreign Ministry, tweeted that it was "gravely concerned" over new arrests of civil society and women's rights activists in Saudi Arabia, including Samar Badawi, a sister of imprisoned blogger Raif Badawi. The ministry called on Saudi Arabia to "immediately release" them.

    In response, Saudi Arabia recalled its ambassador from Ottawa and froze all trade investments in Canada. In addition, Saudi Arabia ordered the departure of Canadian envoy from Riyadh.

    Raif Badawi was arrested in 2012, convicted on several charges including insulting Islam, and sentenced to 10 years in prison.

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    activist, Adel Jubeir, Canada, Saudi Arabia
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