UAE, Bahrain and Palestinian Authority back Saudi Arabia in diplomatic war with Canada

UAE, Bahrain and Palestinian Authority back Saudi Arabia in diplomatic war with Canada
Saudi Arabia's regional allies have come out in support for Riyadh over its surprise boycott of Canada.
2 min read
06 August, 2018
Trudeau has taken up Raif Badawi's case with Saudi Arabia [Getty]
Saudi Arabia's regional allies backed Riyadh's freezing of trade with Canada on Sunday, with the UAE, Bahrain and Palestinian Authority all approving of the kingdom's surprise diplomatic crisis.

UAE Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Anwar Gargash said on Twitter that Abu Dhabi stands with Saudi Arabia "in defending its sovereignty", following a row that broke out on Sunday night and continued Monday, which saw Riyadh sever ties with Ottawa.

This was followed by a statement by Bahrain's foreign ministry, which also backed Saudi Arabia in the diplomatic clash.

"The Kingdom of Bahrain affirms its full solidarity with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia... against anyone attempting to undermine its sovereignty," the ministry said on Twitter.

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas also supported Saudi Arabia over Canada's "interference in the kingdom's internal affairs", official news agency WAFA reported.

Saudi Arabia announced it would expel Canada's ambassador and freeze trade with Ottawa on Monday.

Riyadh also said that it was suspending educational exchange programmes with Canada, according to al-Arabiya, and transferring Saudi scholarships to other countries.

The spat follows Canada's complaints over the detention of women's rights activist Samar Badawi last week.

Samar's brother, Raif Badawi, is another high-profile human rights campaigner who has also been jailed by Riyadh.

Canada-based Ensaf Haidar has worked tirelessly on behalf of her husband Raif, and has met with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on the issue.

He has expressed concern about Riyadh's treatment of the jailed activist, who faces ten years in prison and 1,000 lashes over a critical blog post.

Canada has hit back at the Saudi embargo saying it was "seriously concerned" with the escalation and seeking "greater clarity" from Riyadh.

"Canada will always stand up for the protection of human rights, very much including women's rights, and freedom of expression around the world," said foreign ministry spokeswoman Marie-Pier Baril.

Agencies contributed to this story.

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