BFF-92 Saudi-Canada row leaves US in tight diplomatic spot

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Saudi-Canada row leaves US in tight diplomatic spot

WASHINGTON, Aug 7, 2018 (BSS/AFP) – The sharp diplomatic row between Saudi
Arabia and Canada has left Washington — partners and allies of both — in a
bind, but the State Department on Tuesday nevertheless urged Riyadh to
respect due process for detained activists.

Saudi Arabia has expelled Canada’s ambassador, recalled its own envoy and
cut off trade ties with Ottawa after the US neighbor denounced a crackdown on
rights activists in the kingdom.

A State Department spokeswoman told AFP that Washington was aware of the
situation, noting: “Canada and Saudi Arabia are both close partners of the
United States.”

She said that Washington has asked Riyadh for more information about the
cases of several detained activists.

“The United States supports respect for internationally recognized freedoms
and individual liberties including dissent and due process,” said the
spokeswoman, who asked not to be named.

“We continue to encourage the government of Saudi Arabia to ensure all are
afforded due process and to provide information on the charges and case
status of legal actions against activists.”

Saudi Arabia notably was angry with Canada for demanding that Riyadh
“immediately release” some of the detained activists.

It has suspended scholarships for Saudi students in Canada and plans to
relocate them to other countries, and the state airline Saudia is suspending
flights to Toronto.

BSS/AFP/MRI/2337 hrs