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Maldives backs Saudi Arabia in Canada row

The Maldives accused Canada of a “clear violation of the international conventions and norms.”



The Maldives Wednesday backed Saudi Arabia in its diplomatic row with Canada, although it stopped short of severing ties with the country.

A tweet from Canada’s Foreign Affairs Ministry about the treatment of activists in the Gulf kingdom triggered a surprise rift, with Riyadh fuming about the “negative unfounded comment.”

Saudi Arabia recalled its ambassador, gave the Canadian ambassador 24 hours to leave and froze new business and investment deals.

The Maldives, which enjoys a close relationship with the oil-rich Arab state, condemned Canada for its interference.

“The provocation by any foreign state hindering the respect for sovereignty and the basic principles of non-interference in the internal affairs of other states is a clear violation of the international conventions and norms of conduct between states,” it said.

Last year the Maldives sided with Saudi Arabia in its row with Qatar because of “its firm opposition to activities that encourage terrorism and extremism.”

The Maldives also severed ties with Iran in May 2016, joining other Sunni Muslim countries that took action after Saudi Arabia cut ties with its Shia-majority regional rival.