Saudi airline stops flights to Canada amid escalating diplomatic row

10 August, 2018, 15:27 | Author: Orlando Hughes
  • Saudi Arabia expelling Canadian ambassador and suspending new trade with Canada

Just two months ago, Saudi women were given the right to drive a vehicle, yet several of the country's most prominent women's rights activists - including some who fought for years to drive - were arrested earlier this year on national security grounds.

Saudi Arabia said Sunday it was ordering Canada's ambassador to leave the country and freezing all new trade and investment transactions with Canada in a spat over human rights.

Saudi Arabia also expelled Iran's ambassador over attacks on its diplomatic posts following its 2016 execution of a prominent Shiite cleric.

The Saudi central bank and state pension funds have instructed their overseas asset managers to dispose of their Canadian equities, bonds and cash holdings "no matter the cost", according to the report.

Many students pay tens of thousands of dollars in tuition fees alone, while also paying huge sums on accommodation and living expenses.

"Saudi Arabia has taken a very public stand emphasizing the decisiveness of their leadership in defending their sovereignty" Ms Diwan said.

The latest arrests come weeks after more than a dozen women's rights campaigners were detained and accused of undermining national security and collaborating with enemies of the state.

Ottawa has long refused to deepen ties with the Saudi government over the country's track record on human rights.

Another activist, Badawi's brother Raif, has been incarcerated since 2012.

Local media also reported that Saudi Arabia had been instructed not to transfer its patients to Canada for medical treatment.

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The United States, traditionally one of Canada's most important friends, stayed on the sidelines. "But we would encourage both governments to work out their issues together". "We can't do it for them", said State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert.

They are involved in a human rights row over Canada's demands for Canadian activists jailed in the kingdom to be released.

Since then, the Saudis have reportedly stopped accepting grain that originated in Canada and Saudi air flights have been cancelled to and from Toronto. "It absolutely rejects its unacceptable intervention in Saudi internal affairs".

Neighbors and allies Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates said they stood with Riyadh, although they did not announce similar measures.

The US has openly refused to get involved, and Britain only offered a non-committal call to "show restraint".

A spokesman for the Prime Minister's Office referred CTV News to Freeland's comments.

Momani called it, "getting tough on Canada", which she said other countries in the region might welcome if they view Canadian foreign policy to be led by human rights concerns.

Samar's brother, blogger Raif Badawi, was arrested in 2012 and sentenced to 1,000 lashes and 10 years in jail for "insulting Islam" in a case that sparked an global outcry.

His case long has been raised by worldwide human rights groups and Western diplomats, including Canadians, who have called on Saudi Arabia to free him.

Ensaf Haidar, Raif Badawi's wife, who lives in Quebec with her three children, said Monday she was surprised when she heard about the two new arrests.

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