Swedish Foreign Ministry spokesman Gabriel Wernstedt said on Wednesday that Saudi Arabia had informed the ministry that it was recalling Ambassador Ibrahim bin Saad Al-Ibrahim because of "Sweden's criticism regarding human rights and democracy” in the ultra-conservative kingdom.
The Saudi move comes a day after Sweden's left-leaning government announced it would not renew a 2005 military cooperation deal with Saudi Arabia that expires this year.
Earlier this week Swedish Foreign Minister Margot Wallstrom said she was barred from giving a speech to the Arab League in Cairo after protests from Saudi delegates.
Sweden annuls arms deal with Saudi Arabia
Sweden has announced it will not extend an arms deal with Saudi Arabia over human rights violations in the Arab kingdom.
Swedish Prime Minister Stefan Löfven confirmed on Tuesday that the arms deal which has raised controversies across the world should be terminated, adding, "It is true that the deal will be ended. The Minister of Defense will talk more about this later tonight.”
However, the Swedish premier denied the decision is related to Saudi’s cancellation of a speech by the Scandinavian country’s Foreign Minister Margot Wallström at an Arab League (AL) meeting.
"This has been agreed for some time now. It has nothing to do with what has happened in recent days,” he added.
Swedish FM: AL speech canceled due to criticism of human rights in Saudi Arabia
Swedish Foreign Minister Margot Wallström said on Monday that her speech at the Arab League meeting in the Egyptian capital, Cairo, was canceled allegedly due to her criticism of the human rights situation in Saudi Arabia, the most influential country in the Arab League.
The Arab League had invited the Swedish official to give an address to the ministerial meeting of the organization in praise of Stockholm’s official decision to recognize Palestine as an independent state in October 2014.
Sources in the Arab League had confirmed that it was Riyadh that wanted the speech canceled.
The Swedish Foreign Ministry published the content of Wallström’s speech on Tuesday, which showed the minister had neither criticized Saudi Arabia nor highlighted her alleged feminist foreign policy agenda.
The speech only included some comments on women’s and human rights.
In January, Wallström criticized the Saudi kingdom for its harsh treatment of dissent and lashed out at a Saudi court for sentencing blogger, Raif Badawi, to 1,000 lashes and 10 years in prison just for criticizing Wahhabism.