In a significant development, Canada and Saudi Arabia have reached an agreement to resume diplomatic relations, effectively bringing an end to a five-year conflict that originated from concerns over human rights issues.
The foreign ministries of both countries jointly announced the decision on Wednesday, which came as a result of discussions between Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. The meeting took place on the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Summit held in Bangkok in November of last year.
In a joint statement, Saudi Arabia and Canada expressed their shared desire to restore diplomatic relations based on mutual respect. This move signals a positive step towards rebuilding the strained relationship between the two nations.
As part of the restoration process, Canada has appointed Mr. Jean-Philippe Linteau, who previously served as the Consul General of Canada in Dubai, as the new ambassador to Saudi Arabia. However, Saudi Arabia has yet to announce its ambassador to Canada.
The fracture in diplomatic relations between Canada and Saudi Arabia occurred in the summer of 2018, just months prior to the tragic killing of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi. The incident drew widespread condemnation from Western nations, placing Saudi Arabia under intense scrutiny.
The conflict between Canada and Saudi Arabia initially arose from a tweet posted by a Canadian official expressing concern over the arrests of civil society and women’s rights activists in Saudi Arabia. The Canadian government urged Saudi authorities to release them immediately, triggering a heated exchange of words and resulting in the deterioration of diplomatic ties.
With the decision to restore relations, both countries aim to move forward and reestablish a productive and respectful dialogue. The restoration of diplomatic ties holds the potential for improved collaboration on various fronts, including trade, security, and cultural exchange.
The resumption of diplomatic relations between Canada and Saudi Arabia is viewed as a positive development and a step towards addressing shared challenges and promoting greater understanding between the two nations. It remains to be seen how this renewed relationship will evolve and contribute to the broader international landscape.