Wallstrom overstepped diplomatic protocol

Wallstrom overstepped diplomatic protocol
Updated 19 March 2015

Wallstrom overstepped diplomatic protocol

Wallstrom overstepped diplomatic protocol

Officials of some countries are unfortunately downright rude in their dealings with other nations, with barely a thought going to the economic and political consequences of their behavior.
This is the case with Swedish Foreign Minister Margot Wallstrom, who has criticized Saudi Arabia’s human rights record and its judiciary. Sweden has seemingly taken a position that ignores the principles on which bilateral relations are based, notably non-interference in the internal affairs of other countries.
I understand that relations between countries vary according to the convergence or divergence of common interests politically, economically and socially. However, I do not understand how a country allows its officials to interfere in the policies of another country with which it has diplomatic relations and cooperation in several areas.
It seems that the minister has shown no concern for how relations would be affected, unless Sweden has determined that the Kingdom should follow its ethics, beliefs and values.
Saudi Arabia’s power and position in the world does not depend on the approval of Sweden or its foreign minister. It is based on being a leading nation in the Islamic world, as the honored host of the two holy mosques and therefore a gathering place of Muslims worldwide.
This is in stark contrast to a state that has negligible influence in Europe and the world. The minister’s statements therefore are of little significance and have no influence on Saudi Arabia. However, the Kingdom must refute the ideas and baseless allegations propagated by the minister.
It is our duty to ensure that the remarks of the Swedish minister is not taken as fact, to make everyone understand that she has insulted the feelings of Muslims across the world who know that the Kingdom’s judiciary is independent and impartial, with judges taking decisions based on the Qur’an and Sunnah of the Prophet (peace be upon him).
We also have to state that the minister must remember that she has no right to interfere in the internal affairs of the Kingdom and disrespect its sovereignty. She must realize that the Kingdom would never compromise on this issue.
This behavior of Sweden, as represented by its foreign minister, will see it lose out in terms of trade with Saudi Arabia, to the tune of billions of dollars. Moreover, its suspension of military cooperation with Saudi Arabia, though limited, will hurt its dealings and commitments with others. The Kingdom would also insist on having no relations with a country whose officials behave in such a backward manner.
The minister has committed a serious mistake if she believes her remarks on women, democracy, the judiciary and human rights would tarnish the image of this country. The world knows that Saudi Arabia has prioritized the empowerment of women, as seen by the appointment of 30 women on the Shoura Council. In addition, women have taken up other top positions in government and the private sector.
Finally, we want to remind the minister that even if she wants to be critical of others, there is a diplomatic way to do so, instead of resorting to remarks that have little respect for cultural differences.

n Al-Jazirah