8 Aug 2018 14:03

Saudi Arabia free to choose path of socio-economic reform - Russian Foreign Ministry

MOSCOW. Aug 8 (Interfax) - Moscow has called the politicization of human rights inadmissible following the exacerbation of Canadian-Saudi relations over human rights disagreements.

"We consistently and firmly support the observance of universal human rights with due account for specific national features and traditions that have developed over long periods of time. We have always believed that human rights must not be politicized," Russian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova said in a statement published on the ministry's website.

"We think that Saudi Arabia, which has taken the path of extensive socio-economic reform, has a full sovereign right to decide how to proceed in this important area. Perhaps there is a need for constructive advice and assistance in such matters, but there must be no harsh calls from the position of 'moral superiority,'" Zakharova said.

Last Friday, the Canadian Foreign Ministry called on Saudi Arabia to release a number of human rights defenders immediately. Saudi Arabia viewed the appeal as an act of interference in its internal affairs.

The Saudi Foreign Ministry declared the Canadian ambassador persona non grata and recalled its ambassador from Ottawa.