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Canada asks for help in Saudi dispute

Ottawa seeks advice from Germany and Sweden on how they resolved their disputes with Riyadh

Gulf News

Ottawa: Canada is quietly working back channels to prod allies including Germany and Sweden to help resolve its row with Saudi Arabia, a government source confirmed Thursday.

The senior official, who asked not to be identified due to the sensitivity of the diplomacy, said Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland spoke with her counterparts in the two European nations.

Germany and Sweden had previously been entangled in disputes with Riyadh.

Freeland sought to learn how they resolved those disputes, and asked for their support, the official said.

Regional heavyweight

Ottawa also planned to reach out to regional heavyweight the United Arab Emirates and Britain, which has strong historical ties to Saudi Arabia.

But Riyadh has said that “there is nothing to mediate.”

“A mistake has been made and a mistake should be corrected,” Foreign Minister Adel Al Jubeir said on Wednesday.

Trudeau noted that Freeland had “a long conversation” on Tuesday with her counterpart Al Jubeir to try to resolve the dispute.

“Diplomatic talks continue,” he said.

Tensions high

Tensions have been high between Canada and Saudi Arabia since Monday when Riyadh expelled Canada’s ambassador, recalled its own envoy and froze all new trade and investments.

The kingdom was angry at Ottawa for openly denouncing a crackdown on activists in Saudi Arabia.

Canada has been disappointed that Western powers including the United States - a key ally of Saudi Arabia - did not publicly support Ottawa.

“Both sides need to diplomatically resolve this together. We can’t do it for them. They need to resolve it together,” US State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert told a briefing on Wednesday.

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