Offbeat Trump Stays Quiet While Saudi Arabia-Canada Tensions Rise

06:15  10 august  2018
06:15  10 august  2018 Source:   bloomberg.com

Human Rights Watch: Saudis arrest prominent women's rights activists

  Human Rights Watch: Saudis arrest prominent women's rights activists Saudi Arabian authorities have arrested the activists amid what the group calls a crackdown on dissent.Load Error

Saudi Arabia intends to impose trade and diplomatic measures on Canada after Ottawa called for the release of imprisoned activists, namely siblings Raif and

The Trump administration is privately trying to coax Saudi Arabia to dial back hostilities with Canada even as the U.S. maintains a hands-off public approach to the escalating dispute between the two key allies, a senior U.S. official said.

Group of Seven (G7) Leaders Summit © Bloomberg Group of Seven (G7) Leaders Summit

(Bloomberg) -- The Trump administration is privately trying to coax Saudi Arabia to dial back hostilities with Canada even as the U.S. maintains a hands-off public approach to the escalating dispute between the two key allies, a senior U.S. official said.

The U.S. is now trying to do behind-the-scenes damage control after being caught off guard by Saudi Arabia Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman’s move this week to expel the Canadian ambassador, freeze new trade deals and cancel direct flights to Toronto on its state airline, according to the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

Saudi Arabia expels Canadian envoy, freezes new trade deals

  Saudi Arabia expels Canadian envoy, freezes new trade deals Saudi Arabia expelled Canada's ambassador on Sunday and froze all new trade and investment deals with the country after the Canadian foreign ministry called on Riyadh to free jailed civil rights activists. "Canada and all other nations need to know that they can't claim to be more concerned than the Kingdom over its own citizens," the Saudi foreign ministry said in a statement carried by state-run media.Riyadh said it would give Canada's ambassador 24 hours to leave the country and that it would also withdraw its envoy to Ottawa.

Diplomatic tensions continue to rise between Canada and Saudi Arabia . On the weekend Saudi Arabia froze new trade and investment and expelled the Canadian

"My whole view of Saudi Arabia changed with the murder of Jamal Khashoggi," she said. Khashoggi, who was a strong critic of the Saudi Tensions between the US and Iran began rising this month when Washington put pressure on countries still buying from Iran by ending exemptions from sanctions.

U.S. officials believe Prince Mohammed thinks he has license from the U.S. to confront Canada, exploiting perceived tension between Washington and Ottawa over trade that emerged at the end of a Group of Seven summit in June. At the same time, President Donald Trump and his top advisers -- especially son-in-law Jared Kushner -- have been cultivating closer ties to the Saudi crown prince, a key supplier of oil who Kushner also wants to play a central role in his Israel-Palestinian peace plan.

The Trump administration has maintained a laissez faire approach to the row, refusing to publicly intervene in a crisis officials believe could take some time to resolve and has already created a series of diplomatic headaches.

‘Gravely Concerned’

Saudi diplomats did provide their American counterparts with an explanation for their recent actions, which came after Canada released a statement that said it was “gravely concerned” by the arrest of activists in the country and called for the immediate release of women’s rights campaigners Samar Badawi and Nassima al-Sadah, according to the official. Both activists were arrested in Saudi Arabia in July, according to Human Rights Watch.

Saudi Arabia cuts ties with Canada after it urges activists' release: 'Blatant interference'

  Saudi Arabia cuts ties with Canada after it urges activists' release: 'Blatant interference' Relations between Saudi Arabia and Canada have taken a sudden turn for the worse after the Canadian foreign minister called for the release of detained women's rights activists.Load Error

Saudi Arabia has blamed the killing on rogue agents but denied claims that the crown prince had knowledge of the operation. US media have reported that the CIA believes Mohammed bin Salman ordered the murder. Mr Trump 's statement said: "[It] could very well be that the Crown Prince had

Saudi Arabia 's response to Canadian criticism over detained activists has struck some as disproportionate. The Saudi foreign minister said " Canada has made a mistake and needs to fix it." "( Saudi Arabia 's) actions are in many ways enabled by the Trump administration's shift of focus

But the extraordinary response on the part of the Saudis has led some within the Trump administration to conclude that Prince Mohammed is using the episode to demonstrate his control within the country -- and that avenues to reform travel through him. While the crown prince has sought to foster an international image as a social and economic reformer, he’s also ordered the detention of dozens of royal family members, government officials, and billionaires in what the government described as an anti-graft crackdown.

Global Affairs Canada declined to comment on diplomatic correspondence, and Trudeau’s office didn’t respond to a request for comment.

Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland hasn’t yet spoken to Pompeo or any other U.S. counterpart on the Saudi issue since it erupted, though she has spoken to her German, Swedish and UAE counterparts, according to a Canadian government official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because they’re not authorized to speak publicly.

Saudi Arabia expels Canadian ambassador over criticism

  Saudi Arabia expels Canadian ambassador over criticism Saudi Arabia has given Canada's ambassador 24 hours to leave the kingdom after Canada criticized the recent arrest of women's rights activists. The sudden and unexpected dispute bore the hallmarks of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, Saudi Arabia's 32-year-old future leader, whose recent foreign policy exploits include the war in Yemen, the boycott of Qatar and Lebanese Prime Minister Saad Hariri's surprise resignation broadcast during a visit to the kingdom. Hariri later rescinded the resignation, widely believed to be orchestrated by Riyadh, and returned to Beirut.

Saudi Arabia swiftly shot back, expelling Canada’s ambassador and suspending new trade and “ Saudi Arabia - Canada relations are very limited, so there’s not a lot of damage being done to “We stayed quiet because we had nothing to gain from getting involved. So on the European side, the

President Donald Trump is planning to fly to Canada on Friday. He is not exactly happy about it. The president has vented privately about Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau as their trade tensions have spilled into public view. He has mused about finding new ways to punish the northern neighbour

Canada doesn’t have any official clarity yet on what precisely Saudi has ordered in terms of dumping assets, only what the Financial Times and others have reported, the official said.

The Saudi reaction wasn’t to the scale of anything Canada has seen in the past, despite previous public comments on the issue of women’s rights activist arrests and human rights in the kingdom in general.

Out of Favor

The Saudis may be attempting to capitalize on the rift, believing Trump would be unlikely to come down hard in defense of an ally who has fallen out of favor, the U.S. official said. So far, that calculation appears to be correct.

State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert, asked about the spat during a press conference on Tuesday, said that “both sides need to diplomatically resolve this together.”

“We can’t do it for them,” Nauert added. “They need to resolve it together.”

The U.S. has decided to work privately on a resolution, the official said, including attempts to prevent the Saudis from doing more than they’ve already done.

The U.S.’s silence has been mirrored by other key Canadian allies, including the U.K. That’s contributed to the sense that Ottawa has received little international support as it sought to champion human rights.

Egypt's record-breaking keeper El Hadary retires aged 45

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Canadian – Saudi relations are the relations between Canada and the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia . The two share robust economic ties, with Saudi Arabia representing Canada 's second largest trading

RIYADH, Saudi Arabia — President Trump got the royal treatment in Saudi Arabia on Saturday, receiving a lavish welcome that he hopes can erase two weeks of bad headlines, refocus his presidency and unite allies against terrorism. Day one of his nine-day foreign trip — his first as president — saw

Billions at Stake

The U.K. under Theresa May has been consumed by the task of completing the terms for Brexit and is loath to irritate the Saudis given the billions at stake in defense contracts and the potential for lucrative trade deals. May openly pitched London as a listing destination for Aramco, Saudi Arabia’s oil company, and gave Prince Mohammed a warm welcome in March during a high-profile visit that drew protests.

a group of people standing in front of a building: Saudi Arabia Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman Visits U.K. Prime Minister © Bloomberg Saudi Arabia Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman Visits U.K. Prime Minister

A demonstration during Mohammed bin Salman’s visit to London in March 2018.

At Trump’s urging, Saudi Arabia has boosted oil production in recent months, limiting the impact on consumers of the president’s decision to reimpose sanctions on Iran. Trump criticized OPEC on Twitter after the London crude price hit a three-year high of more than $80 a barrel in May. The commodity has since retreated to around $72 a barrel.

Saudi Arabia is also seen as the linchpin to the president’s proposal to create a new security alliance in the Middle East -- a so-called Arab NATO -- intended to limit Iranian influence in the region.

Regardless of motivation, the relative U.S. silence on the issue has been noticed in Ottawa. The American response is “a glimpse of what the world looks like without the U.S. advocating for human rights,” Roland Paris, a University of Ottawa professor and former Trudeau foreign policy adviser, said in an interview.

“Right now there is very little solidarity," he added.

--With assistance from Greg Quinn and Stephen Wicary.

To contact the reporters on this story: Nick Wadhams in Washington at nwadhams@bloomberg.net;Justin Sink in Washington at jsink1@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Alex Wayne at awayne3@bloomberg.net, Joshua Gallu, Chris Fournier

©2018 Bloomberg L.P.

Saudi Arabia sells off Canadian assets as dispute escalates .
Saudi Arabia is selling Canadian assets as the kingdom escalates its response to Ottawa’s criticism of the arrest of a female activist. The Saudi central bank and state pension funds have instructed their overseas asset managers to dispose of their Canadian equities, bonds and cash holdings “no matter the cost”, two people with direct knowledge of the orders said.Third-party managers are estimated to be mandated to invest more than $100bn of Saudi funds in global markets, executives say.

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