Minister Stephen Harper has come under fire from ex-Canadian premier Jean
Chrétien for failing to rein in the ongoing diplomatic feud between Ottawa and the UAE.
Chrétien, who was prime minister of Canada from November 1993 to December 2003,
said a quick solution was needed to defuse the row in light of the UAE’s
think this problem has not been well managed," Chrétien told Arabian Business
on the sideline of a conference in Riyadh.
hope they will resolve the difficulty because we need good relations with this
part of the world.”
between the oil-rich UAE and Canada have deteriorated rapidly since November,
when Canada’s transport agency refused to give Gulf carriers Etihad and
Emirates fresh landing rights.
UAE had been requesting new rights for six years.
The Arab country retaliated with the closure of Camp Mirage,
a secret military base located outside Dubai and used to supply Canadian troops
The political feud took a new turn in December, when the UAE
Embassy announced Canadian citizens would no longer receive free visas.
Instead, tourists must now pay up to $1,000 Canadian dollars for visas.
Earlier this month, Canada’s opposition foreign affairs
spokesman Bob Rae said Ottawa had been guilty of ‘diplomatic bumbling’ and had
put a $2bn bilateral trade relationship at risk.
this month, Prime Minister Stephen Harper accused the UAE of leveraging the War
on Terror to push its own domestic aviation interests.
just not how you treat allies, and I think tells us you better pick your
friends pretty carefully in the future,” Harper said, in reference to the
closure of Camp Mirage.
said Canada had always maintained good relations with its Gulf allies.
never had any problems when I was prime minister with the countries here. I
never had, in the ten years I was there, had that type of problem without
finding a solution,” he said.