Canada's foreign minister, Chrystia Freeland, on Monday called for a full and transparent probe on the disappearance of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
Speaking to lawmakers and quoted by AFP, Freeland said Canada was "very concerned" about Khashoggi's disappearance and added she had conveyed this earlier to Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir.
"I expressed Canada's deep concerns and asked for a thorough, transparent and credible investigation," she was quoted as having said. "I emphasized that those responsible must be held to account. I have been in very close touch with our G7 and NATO allies on this issue."
Khashoggi, a Saudi national and US resident who became increasingly critical of Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, has not been seen since he walked into the Saudi consulate in Istanbul to sort out marriage paperwork on October 2.
Turkish police concluded last weekend that Khashoggi, who was also a contributor to The Washington Post, was murdered inside the Saudi mission, a claim Saudi Arabia has denied.
However, reports on CNN on Monday indicated that the Saudis are preparing a report that will acknowledge Khashoggi's death was the result of an interrogation that went wrong and that was intended to lead to his abduction from Turkey.
US President Donald Trump, who last week demanded that Saudi Arabia provide answers over the disappearance of Khashoggi, acknowledged that he heard the CNN report but added that “nobody knows if it´s an official report”.
The comments from Freeland on the matter are significant given that relations between Canada and Saudi Arabia have been tense in recent months.
In August, Saudi Arabia announced it had suspended new trade and investment with Canada, gave the Canadian ambassador 24 hours to leave the country and recalled its own ambassador to Canada, after the Canadian foreign ministry urged Riyadh to release arrested civil rights activists.
Saudi Arabian Airlines later announced it would be suspending flights to and from Toronto amid the kingdom’s diplomatic row with Canada.
The Saudi move came two days after Global Affairs Canada issued a statement criticizing the arrest of Samar Badawi, the sister of jailed blogger Raif Badawi. Samar Badawi is the sister-in-law of Raif Badawi’s wife Ensaf Haidar, who lives in Canada and recently became a Canadian citizen.
Raif Badawi is serving a 10-year sentence after being convicted of insulting Islam and breaking Saudi Arabia's technology laws with his liberal blog. He also was sentenced to 1,000 lashes, spread over 20 installments, and fined $266,000.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau subsequently announced that his government is engaging diplomatically with Saudi Arabia, though he did not back down on his concerns about human rights in the kingdom.