Canada, Saudi Arabia rekindle diplomatic ties after 2018 human rights disagreement

Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman speaks during the Gulf summit in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, December 14, 2021.

Saudi Press Agency | Handout | via Reuters

Canada and Saudi Arabia have agreed to restore diplomatic ties, ending a five-year dispute over human rights.

The foreign ministries of Canada and Saudi Arabia announced the decision late Wednesday after discussions between Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman on the sidelines of the APEC summit in Bangkok last November.

Saudi Arabia and Canada said it reflected “both sides’ desire to restore diplomatic relations between the two countries based on mutual respect”.

Canada has named Jean-Philippe Linteau, most recently the country’s consul general in Dubai, as Ottawa’s new ambassador to Saudi Arabia. Riyadh has yet to announce its own ambassador.

Diplomatic ties between the two countries cracked in the summer of 2018, just months before the killing of dissident Washington Post reporter Jamal Khashoggi in October, and Riyadh was widely embraced by Western partners. criticize.The rupture was sparked by Canada tweet Expressed Ottawa’s “grave concern over the additional arrests of civil society and women’s rights activists” and called on Saudi authorities to “release them immediately.”

Riyadh at the time Eligible Canadian Jobs As an “open and blatant interference in the internal affairs of the kingdom” and a “violation of the most basic international norms”. The kingdom quickly retaliated by freezing new trade and investment deals, giving the Canadian ambassador 24 hours to leave the country and halting medical programs in the North American country.

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Canadian official data The North American country’s exports to Saudi Arabia totaled C$2.2 billion (US$1.62 billion) in 2021, 81 percent of which were transportation equipment. During the same period, Canada’s imports from Saudi Arabia were $2.4 billion.

The normalization of ties with Canada is the latest in Saudi Arabia’s quest for diplomatic stability, creating an environment for growth as the kingdom further plans to diversify its more than $1 trillion economy away from its historic reliance on fossil fuels.

In early March, Riyadh agreed Restoring relations with archrival Iran U.S. President Joe Biden finally met with the crown prince in July last year, with an eye toward “resetting” Washington’s relationship with its Middle East allies, under a Chinese-brokered arrangement.

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