ISSN 2330-717X

Saudi Arabia Upset Over Russian Statement About Shiite Unrest

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Saudi Arabia considers statement of Russian Foreign Ministry’s Commissioner for Human Rights Konstantin Dolgov about unrest in the kingdom’s east ‘unfriendly’, SPA state news agency reported on Sunday.

Dolgov said in a statement published at the ministry’s web-site this week that the Saudi government should ensure the rights of the Shiite population, such as peaceful rallies and freedom of view expression, in the kingdom where the vast majority of citizens are the Sunnis. He also thinks that suppression of rallies “may negatively impact on stability and harmony of civil society in Saudi Arabia”.

“The kingdom condemns this statement, considering it unfriendly. Riyadh wants to remind the Russian commissioner that it still strive to respect the laws, sovereignty and independence of states and distance itself from interfering in internal affairs [of other states], including in Russian affairs and its policy to resolve conflicts on their own territory,” SPA quoted the Saudi Foreign Ministry’s statement.

Mass protests of Shiites, living in the oil-rich eastern province of Saudi Arabia, broke out again this week after their chief spiritual leader Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr was arrested and wounded and two of his assistants were killed.

Saudi Foreign Ministry also said it hoped that such remarks of the Russian commissioner did not aim at diverting attention away from unrest in Syria.

Under Amnesty International information, about 500 people has been arrested in the kingdom’s eastern province since February 2011 for rallies participation. Six citizens were killed during the rallies’ suppression.

Protesters call for democratic reforms, end of Shiite discrimination and release of detained demonstrators, while the Saudi government blames the protesters for fomenting unrest, combating with police and working for ‘external forces’.

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Ria Novosti

RIA Novosti was Russia's leading news agency in terms of multimedia technologies, website audience reach and quoting by the Russian media.

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