Norway isn’t at all happy over how Saudi Arabia punishes its citizens and infringes on basic human rights, but the country sent Crown Prince Haakon to Riyadh over the weekend anyway, to offer condolences after the death of Saudi King Abdullah on Friday.
Norway joined the rush by world leaders including US President Barack Obama, Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev, British Prime Minister David Cameron and Crown Prince Naruhito of Japan to pay their respects to the late king, and visit his successor, King Salman.
Crown Prince Haakon represented Norway, just days after Norwegian Foreign Minister Børge Brende had lodged another protest against the whippings ordered upon a Saudi blogger accused of insulting Islam and criticizing the authorities on his blog. Even though Saudi Arabia sent officials to Paris to demonstrate against the terrorist attack on freedom of expression, the Saudi authorities allow little if any freedom of expression themselves.
The world leaders otherwise don’t talk much about the human rights situation in Saudi Arabia, which remains the world’s largest exporter of oil and has allied itself in the fight against terror. Oil prices rose slightly when the king’s death was announced, but Saudi Arabia has shown no sign of cutting production to drive prices higher.