The UAE’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs confirmed that it has recalled its envoy to Sweden to protest against comments by the Swedish foreign minister against its Gulf ally Saudi Arabia.
The ministry also summoned Jan Thesleff, the ambassador of Sweden to the UAE to deliver a formal protest against remarks by Margot Wallstrom about the Kingdom, state news agency WAM reported.
The UAE’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Anwar Mohammed Gargash said in a statement that the UAE strongly condemned comments made by the “foreign minister of Sweden to the Swedish Parliament against the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and its judicial system.”
Gargash said that “these statements violate the principle of sovereignty upon which the normal relations between countries are based”.
He added that such remarks are deemed interference in the internal affairs of a state, as they do not respect the religious and cultural sentiments of a country or a community.
Earlier this year Wallstrom criticised the Saudi government’s ruling to subject blogger Raif Badawi to 1,000 lashes, calling the punishment “medieval”.
Such comments irked the Gulf Arab country, leading it to block Wallstrom’s speech at a meeting of League of Arab States.
The diplomatic squabble snowballed after Sweden cancelled a long-standing defence cooperation agreement with Saudi Arabia this month.
Last week, Saudi Arabia too recalled its own envoy to Stockholm after branding Swedish criticism of its human rights record as “interference in its internal affairs”.