Søreide takes part in a human rights debate in Saudi Arabia

Crown Prince Mohammed bin SalmanSaudi Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (Mandel Ngan/Pool Photo via AP, File)

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Political rights go the wrong way in Saudi Arabia, states Foreign Minister Ine Eriksen Søreide (H).

On Tuesday, she visited the ultra-conservative kingdom and had a nearly four hour meeting with the country’s foreign minister Faisal bin Farhan al-Saud.

According to Aftenposten, human rights took most of the time during the conversation.

“We had an open and very direct talks on both the death penalty and the terrorist legislation,” Søreide said after the meeting.

– “The country is going through a revolution in social rights. At the same time, things are going in the wrong direction when it comes to political rights,” she added.

Massive abuse
Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch are deeply critical of the developments in Saudi Arabia and have documented massive human rights violations, not least against women and activists.

Many are jailed, others sentenced to death and executed by beheadings in public places, including minors.

Søreide has in the past condemned the practice in harsh terms.

Brutal Crown Prince
The country’s powerful crown prince Mohammed bin Salman is trying to appear outwardly reform-friendly, but is accused of relentless persecution of critics and brutal warfare in neighboring Yemen.

US intelligence has concluded, among other things, that it was probably the Crown Prince himself who ordered the killing of regime-critical journalist Jamal Khashoggi at Saudi Arabia’s consulate in Istanbul in October last year.

Rejects the criticism
Saudi Arabia’s Deputy Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir rejects the Aftenposten criticism of human rights organizations.

– “Saudi Arabia is an independent country. We decide for ourselves what we want to do. We will not be taught by human rights organizations,” he says, but described the conversation with Søreide as good.

-“She hasn’t tried to school us, and that’s the way it should be between friends,” he says.

© NTB Scanpix / #Norway Today

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