GCC summons Swedish ambassador over minister's remarks

Secretary General of Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) Abdullatif bin Rashid Al-Zayani on Thursday summoned Swedish Ambassador to Saudi Arabia Dag Juhlin-Dannfelt to register a protest against a criticism of the Kingdom's judicial system by Swedish Minister for Foreign Affairs Margot Wallstrom.

IANS| Last Updated: Mar 20, 2015, 01:04 AM IST

Riyadh: Secretary General of Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) Abdullatif bin Rashid Al-Zayani on Thursday summoned Swedish Ambassador to Saudi Arabia Dag Juhlin-Dannfelt to register a protest against a criticism of the Kingdom's judicial system by Swedish Minister for Foreign Affairs Margot Wallstrom.

Juhlin-Dannfelt was summoned to the GCC secretariat headquarters in Riyadh and handed over a protest note, Saudi Press Agency reported.

The GCC condemned the "abusive statements made by the Swedish foreign minister against the Kingdom" as well as "her ignorance of the facts and great progress made by the Kingdom at all levels", the report said.

It added that Wallstrom statements were "unacceptable interference in the Kingdom's internal affairs, and contrary to all international conventions, diplomatic norms and friendly relations among nations".

The Council called for the need to respect religions, and cultural and social diversity of the peoples.

On March 9, Saudi Arabia blocked a plan for Wallstrom to address the Arab League meeting in Cairo in a protest over her criticism. In response, on March 10, Sweden said it would not renew a long-time arms deal with Saudi Arabia.

Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates have recalled their ambassadors in Sweden over the comments that threat the bilateral ties between Arab countries and Sweden.