Canada, Saudi Arabia to normalize diplomatic ties after 2018 dispute

Canada and Saudi Arabia have agreed to restore their diplomatic ties to the previous level, ending a five-year rift over the reported detention of women's rights activists.

The governments of the two countries separately issued a statement to announce the agreement on Wednesday.

Their relations had been worsening since 2018, when Canada's foreign ministry demanded on Twitter the immediate release of women's rights activists who had been reportedly detained in Saudi Arabia.

The tweet angered Riyadh, which expelled Canada's ambassador to Saudi Arabia and suspended new transactions and investments between the two nations.

Canada says the two countries struck the deal in light of the desire for both sides to restore diplomatic relations.

They also agreed to appoint new ambassadors.

Their statements say the agreement was made based on discussions between Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman on the sidelines of the summit of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation Forum in Bangkok last November.

The Canadian public broadcaster CBC quoted the former Canadian ambassador who was expelled by Saudi Arabia in 2018 as saying that the kingdom is an important player and hard to ignore.

He said having full diplomatic ties with Saudi Arabia will allow Canada to have its voice heard at senior levels in Saudi Arabia, and that is what matters.