JEDDAH: Saudi Foreign Minister Adel Al-Jubeir asked Canada to apologize for demanding the release of imprisoned activists if it wants to resolve an ongoing diplomatic dispute.
Speaking at an event at the Council on Foreign Relations in New York on Wednesday, Al-Jubeir said, “You can criticise us about human rights, women’s rights … others do and that’s your right. You can sit down and talk about it, but demand the immediate release? What are we a banana republic? Would any country accept it? No! We don’t,” reported Reuters.
Denouncing an “outrageous” tweet by Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland, the Kingdom’s foreign minister said,
“It is outrageous from our perspective that a country will sit there and lecture us, and make demands. ‘We demand the immediate release’… Really? We demand the immediate independence of Quebec and the equal granting of rights to Canadian Indians,” Jubeir said.
“We did not do this, you did. Fix it. You owe us an apology. Apologize, say you made a mistake,” he said. “In Canada, we became a political football. Find another ball to play with, not Saudi Arabia.”
The dispute erupted in early August, Saudi Arabia froze new trade with Canada, blocked grain imports, and expelled the Canadian ambassador in retaliation for Ottawa’s call for the release of activists detained.