Saudi Arabia, Canada agree to restore full diplomatic ties

World Thursday 25/May/2023 10:52 AM
By: DW
Saudi Arabia, Canada agree to restore full diplomatic ties

Saudi Arabia and Canada announced on Wednesday the restoration of diplomatic relations "on the basis of mutual respect and common interests," following a five-year rift over Riyadh's jailing of activists.

The decision to restore ties followed discussions between Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman last November, on the sidelines of the summit of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Forum in Bangkok, according to a statement.

Saudi Arabia announced severing diplomatic ties with Canada in August 2018, after Ottawa called on the kingdom to release arrested civil rights activists.

What did the two sides agree on?

Both countries' foreign ministries released almost identical statements, announcing they were restoring diplomatic relations to the "previous level."

Canada added that it appointed Jean-Philippe Linteau as its ambassador to Riyadh.

A Canadian government source familiar with the agreement told the Reuters news agency that punitive trade measures would be lifted as a consequence of the agreement.

"Empty chairs at the end of the day don't push our interests forward, and they don't push things like human rights forward," the source added.

The source also referred to Saudi Arabia as an "important global player" in recent years. They referred to the kingdom's role in evacuating Canadian nationals from Sudan last month, as countries struggled to get their citizens out of the war torn country.

The source also cited Canadian Foreign Minister Melanie Joly as saying: "We need to have conversations with people we don't always agree with on everything in order to find global solutions to global problems," Reuters reported.