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President Donald Trump during a bilateral meeting with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia in March 2018. Photo: Kevin Dietsch-Pool viaGetty Images

The U.S. State Department provided a comment to HuffPost Monday evening in response to the high-stakes spat between Saudi Arabia and Canada over the imprisonment of human rights activists.

"Canada and Saudi Arabia are both close allies of the United States...The United States supports respect for internationally recognized freedoms and individual liberties including dissent and due process. We have asked the Government of Saudi Arabia for additional information on the detention of several activists. We continue to encourage the Government of Saudi Arabia to respect due process and to publicize information on the status of legal cases. We address these broad concerns in our annual Human Rights Report."
— A State Department official

The big picture: As HuffPost's Akbar Shahid Ahmed points out, Saudi Arabia is not a treaty ally of the United States, unlike Canada, and has a long history of human rights abuses. The Gulf state is, however, a strategic ally for peace talks in the region and the beneficiary of several billion-dollar arms deals from the U.S.

Go deeper

In photos: D.C. and U.S. states on alert for pre-inauguration violence

National Guard troops stand behind security fencing with the dome of the U.S. Capitol Building behind them, on Jan. 16. Photo: Kent Nishimura / Los Angeles Times via Getty Images

Security has been stepped up in Washington, D.C., and state capitols across the U.S. as authorities brace for potential violence this weekend.

Driving the news: Following the Jan. 6 insurrection at the U.S. Capitol by some supporters of President Trump, the FBI has said there could be armed protests in D.C. and in all 50 state capitols in the run-up to President-elect Joe Biden's inauguration Wednesday.

16 hours ago - Politics & Policy

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Rep. Lou Correa tests positive for COVID-19

Lou Correa. Photo: Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images

Rep. Lou Correa (D-Calif.) announced on Saturday that he has tested positive for the coronavirus.

Why it matters: Correa is the latest Democratic lawmaker to share his positive test results after last week's deadly Capitol riot. Correa did not shelter in the designated safe zone with his congressional colleagues during the siege, per a spokesperson, instead staying outside to help Capitol Police.