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Canada continuing to ‘engage diplomatically’ with Saudi Arabia

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trudeau speaking saudi arabia
Canadian
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau addresses the press about the
impending death sentence of Saudi activist Israa
al-Ghomgham.

Screenshot/Global News
Canada


  • Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said on Thursday
    that his government is continuing to “engage diplomatically”
    with Saudi Arabia, but said he remains “concerned” about a
    Saudi woman who is facing a death sentence for her political
    activism. 
  • Trudeau addressed reports that
    Saudi Arabia is preparing to behead 29-year-old Israa
    al-Ghomgham.
     He pledged to “continue to stand up
    strongly for human rights.”
  • Canada’s foreign ministry kicked off a major diplomatic
    feud with Saudi Arabia earlier this month with
    a single tweet
     that called out Saudi Arabia’s
    human-rights record.
  • Since then,
    the feud has escalated
    , and both sides seem to be weighing
    their next moves. 

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said on Thursday that his
government is continuing to “engage diplomatically” with Saudi
Arabia, but said he remains “concerned” about a Saudi woman who
is facing a death sentence for her political activism. 

“We continue to engage diplomatically with Saudi Arabia, I
think it’s important to have positive relationships with
countries around the world,” Trudeau
told
reporters in British Columbia.

Trudeau also addressed reports that
Saudi Arabia is preparing to behead 29-year-old Israa
al-Ghomgham
, who could become the first female activist
executed in the Kingdom. 

“At the same time we have expressed our concern with the
sentence handed down by Saudi Arabia,” Trudeau said. “Our concern
for defending human rights and our shared values all around the
world.”

Al-Ghomgham was arrested along with her husband in
2015 for supporting peaceful protests against the government,
rights groups have said.

“Canada will continue to stand up strongly for human
rights, minority rights, and our shared universal values, even as
we look to have constructive relations, positive relations with
countries around the world,” Trudeau said. 

The prime minister’s response follows a statement Canada’s
Foreign Affairs Minister, Chrystia Freeland, made on Wednesday,
saying it remained “extremely
concerned
” by the recent spate of arrests in Saudi
Arabia. 

Freeland kicked off a major diplomatic feud between Canada
and Saudi Arabia earlier this month with
a single tweet
 calling out Saudi Arabia’s human-rights
record.

Her tweet provoked major backlash from Saudi Arabia — and
in the last month, the country has expelled the Canadian
ambassador, frozen all new investment, canceled all
flights to Toronto,
 pulled thousands
of students from Canadian institutions
, barred its citizens
from getting
medical treatment in Canadian hospitals
, and
reportedly sold
off Canadian assets
.

Despite threats, Canada
has refused to back down
, and the fate of
over a dozen human-rights activists
that have been jailed
since May remains uncertain. 

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