Pakistan backs Saudi Arabia in diplomatic tussle with Canada

Pakistan supports Saudi Arabia in tussle with Canada

Pakistan supports Saudi Arabia in diplomatic row with Canada

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan is following with huge concern the crisis in the relations between Saudi Arabia and Canada and places on record its solidarity with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, the Foreign Office said on Thursday.

Dr. Faisal said that Pakistan always supported the sovereignty of states and the principle of non-interference in the internal affairs of other states, adding that both these aspects are enshrined in the UN Charter and are among the basic tenets of global law as well as the foundation of peaceful and friendly inter-state relations.

Riyadh also said it will relocate thousands of Saudi students studying in Canada to other countries, while state airline Saudia announced it was suspending flights to Toronto.

"Pakistan stands by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in protecting its sovereignty as a matter of principle and based on the historic and brotherly relations between our two countries", Dr. Faisal added.

Tensions have been high since Monday, when Riyadh expelled Canada's ambassador, recalled its own envoy and froze all new trade and investments after Ottawa denounced a crackdown on rights activists in Saudi Arabia. Later, the Canadian government called for the immediate release of jailed activists.

On Wednesday, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau stood firm, saying: "Canada will always speak strongly and clearly in private and in public on questions of human home and overseas, wherever we see the need".

Germany and Sweden previously were targets of Saudi backlashes for calling out the kingdom over human rights abuses.

The Saudi Ambassador to Canada said in an interview with al Arabiya television on Thursday that Trudeau's comments were positive, but more needed to be done.

On Wednesday, Saudi state media said the kingdom has nevertheless also stopped all medical treatment programmes in Canada and was working on transferring all patients there to other countries.

Mr. Trudeau noted that his Foreign Minister, Chrystia Freeland, had "a long conversation" on Tuesday with her Saudi counterpart Adel al-Jubeir to try to resolve the dispute.

"Both sides need to diplomatically resolve this together".

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