TORONTO (Kurdistan 24) – Iraq’s Foreign Affairs Ministry has expressed its “deep regret” and “great concern” in the recent diplomatic tensions between Canada and Saudi Arabia.
“The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Iraq is following with great concern the development of tension in the relationship between the brotherly Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the friendly Kingdom of Canada,” spokesperson Ahmed Mahjoub said in a statement on Wednesday.
Mahjoub said Iraq “hopes that the two sides will overcome this stage [of diplomatic tensions] and give priority to the supreme interests of the two countries.”
The spat between Riyadh and Ottawa began on Aug. 3 when Foreign Policy Canada posted a tweet expressing its “grave concerns” about the detention of “civil society and women’s rights activists” in the Kingdom.
Saudi’s Foreign Ministry responded, also on Twitter, stating it believes Canada’s “position is a grave and unacceptable violation of the Kingdom’s laws and procedures” and announced it is expelling Canada’s ambassador while recalling its representative.
The Saudi government has since banned new trade with Canada, ordered about 15,000 students to leave the country, and its airline, Saudia, said it would suspend flights to Toronto, one of Canada’s largest cities, starting from Aug. 13.
Responding to Saudi’s actions, Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland said Canada “will always stand up for human rights in Canada and around the world, and women’s rights are human rights.”
The United States, one of Canada’s closest allies, said it would not get involved and urged both Ottawa and Riyadh to “resolve” the dispute together. Jordan, meanwhile, voiced support for Saudi Arabia.
Amid the political spat, a Saudi-based non-profit group was criticized for posting an image which appeared to threaten Canada with a 9/11-style attack.
The group called “Infographic_KSA” received backlash on social media for publishing the image which showed an Air Canada airplane flying toward the CN Tower in Toronto.
The account later apologized, admitting the photo was “inappropriate” and was meant “to symbolize the return of the Ambassador.”
The Saudi Ministry of Media ordered the account to shut down “until investigations are completed,” adding the post was “shocking.”