Saudis weigh fresh measures against Canada

“There is nothing to mediate. A mistake has been made and a mistake should be corrected,” says Foreign Minister Adel Al Jubeir.

Manama: Saudi Arabia said on Wednesday it was “considering additional measures” against Canada, adding that there was no room for mediation in the kingdom’s escalating diplomatic dispute with the country, and that Ottawa knew what it needed to do to “fix its big mistake”.

“There is nothing to mediate. A mistake has been made and a mistake should be corrected,” Foreign Minister Adel Al Jubeir told a news conference in Riyadh.

He noted the economic measures taken only affect new investments by the kingdom and that previous investments are still ongoing.

Canada’s actions unacceptable

He stressed Canada’s actions were unacceptable for Saudi Arabia and for other Arab countries.

“Saudi Arabia does not accept any orders and does not allow interference in its internal affairs. The crisis with Canada had been imposed on us because of Canada’s interference in our domestic affairs. The issue is not about human rights or matters related to activists, but about state security,” he said.

On Tuesday, Reuters reported Canada plans to seek help from UAE and Britain to defuse the row, citing sources familiar with the matter.

The British government on Tuesday urged Canada and Saudi Arabia to show restraint.

Attempts to politicise human rights issues

Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is expected to hold a news conference in Montreal, where he will be pressed on the diplomatic crisis.

Meanwhile, Russia on Wednesday said it rejected attempts to politicise human rights issues and stressed that Saudi Arabia had the sovereign right to decide how to move forward.

“We consistently defend respect for human rights, but by taking into account national particularities and long-standing traditions in these countries,” Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova said.

“We consider it unacceptable in this regard to politicise human rights issues.”

Egypt backing

Earlier, Egypt said it supported Saudi Arabia in the row with Canada, and stood in “solidarity” with the kingdom against foreign interference in its domestic affairs.

-With inputs from agencies


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