Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said on Thursday his government was engaged in diplomatic talks with Saudi Arabia after a diplomatic crisis that resulted in Saudi Arabia freezing trade between the two countries and expelling the Canadian ambassador from Riyadh.
"We continue to deal diplomatically with Saudi Arabia," Trudeau told reporters after meetings of the British Columbia cabinet.
"I think it's important to have positive relations with countries all over the world."
"At the same time, we express our concerns about defending human rights and our shared values around the world," he said.
Earlier this month, Saudi Arabia froze any new trade dealings with Canada, halted grain imports, expelled the Canadian ambassador and ordered all Saudi students to return to the country after anger at a scathing message from Canada's ambassador to Riyadh.
The call was for the release of civil society activists.
The Saudi foreign ministry said at the time that it had "seen what the Canadian foreign minister and the Canadian embassy in the kingdom had said about what they called civil society activists who had been arrested in the kingdom and urged the authorities in the kingdom to release them immediately."
"This negative and surprising attitude from Canada is a totally false and false claim to the truth," she said.
"Any further attempt on this part of Canada means we are allowed to interfere in Canada's internal affairs," Saudi Arabia said in a statement.
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