Saudi sovereignty a red line

Canadian consulate in Jeddah. — Exclusive Okaz/Saudi Gazette photo by Abdul Salam Assulemi

  • Kingdom transferring Saudi students from Canada to other countries
  • We will not accept any interference: Al-Jubeir; Canadian dollar declines 0.3%

Saudi Gazette report

— There has been all-round support for the Saudi stand against Canada for its interference in the internal affairs of the Kingdom.

Saudi Arabia said it was expelling the Canadian ambassador and had recalled its envoy while freezing all new trade and investment deals while retaining its right to take other measures following Canada’s statement about “civil society activists” that was negative and baseless.

On Monday evening Saudi Arabia also stopped training and scholarship agreements with Canada, and it was transferring Saudi students to other countries, according to statements from the ministries of health and education.

Later on Monday ‪Saudi‬ Foreign Minister ‪Adel Al Jubeir said, Saudi Arabia‬ does not interfere in other countries’ affairs. We will not accept any interference, and we will react firmly.

The move against Canada “seems intended to convey that Saudi Arabia’s government will not yield to external pressure on what it views as national security issues,” said Emily Hawthorne, Middle East and North Africa analyst at Texas-based advisory firm Stratfor Enterprises LLC.

The Canadian dollar declined 0.3 percent, the most in more than two weeks on a closing basis, to 1.3031 per US dollar as of 8:57 a.m.

Bahrain, UAE, Palestine and other Gulf and Arab countries joined the Arab Parliament, the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) and the Muslim World League in expressing solidarity with the Kingdom.

The OIC expressed its full understanding of the Kingdom’s stand on calling for non-interference in its internal affairs. This principle is guaranteed by international charters and norms that reject interference in the internal affairs of countries and call for respecting their sovereignty, the OIC said in a statement.

“The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is a sovereign country and is widely respected at the regional and international level. The judiciary in the Kingdom is totally independent and it has its internal laws that guarantee, organize and care for civil society activities,” said OIC Secretary General Dr. Yousef Al-Othaimeen.

Speaker of the Cairo-based Arab Parliament Dr. Mishaal Bin Fahm Al-Salami expressed the parliament’s full solidarity with Saudi Arabia.

“The very negative and irresponsible phrase contained in the Canadian statement that Canada urges authorities in the Kingdom to release the detainees immediately constitutes overt and blatant interference in the internal affairs of the Kingdom and is a demand contrary to the principle of the independence of judiciary,” he said in a statement on Monday.

The Muslim World League (MWL) condemned the Canadian government’s blatant interference in the internal affairs of the Kingdom which is governed by its constitution, regulations and judicial systems.

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas stressed that the Palestinian people and the leadership stand by the Kingdom.

He called on Arab countries to stand by the Kingdom by rejecting and denouncing Canadian interference in its internal affairs.

In a statement issued through the Palestinian news agency, Abbas rejected and condemned interference in the internal affairs of the Kingdom by anyone.

Bahrain affirmed its full solidarity with Saudi Arabia against any external interference in its internal affairs or any side’s attempt to undermine Saudi sovereignty.

“The Kingdom of Bahrain also confirms its absolute support for the measures taken by the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in response to the statements made by the Canadian Minister of Foreign Affairs and the Canadian Embassy in Riyadh on what they called civil society activists,” Bahrain’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement.

“While the Kingdom of Bahrain regrets Canada’s position, based on totally erroneous information that has nothing to do with reality on the ground, it absolutely rejects its unacceptable intervention in the internal affairs of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.

“The Kingdom of Bahrain affirms that it stands with the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in all the measures it has taken to maintain its security and stability. It stresses the need to respect Saudi regulations and judiciary and abide by the norms and conventions governing international relations,” the ministry said in its statement.

In a tweet, the UAE’s Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Anwar Gargash, said: “We cannot but stand with Saudi Arabia in defending its sovereignty and laws and taking the needed procedures.

“We also cannot accept for our laws and sovereignty to be bargained or subjected to pressure. The beliefs of some countries that their style and experience allow them to intervene in our affairs is unacceptable, unacceptable.”

Saudi Ambassador to Canada Naif Bin Bandar Al-Sudeiry has said in a tweet that the Canadian position was a grave and unacceptable violation of the Kingdom’s laws and procedures, in addition to violating the Kingdom’s judiciary and a breach of the principle of sovereignty.