Saudi Arabia expels Canadian envoy, freezes new trade deals
06 August, 2018, 10:41 | Author: Orlando Hughes
The website also says Canada was "seeking to diversify its relations with the Saudi Kingdom" in 2016, as the two countries' bilateral relations are based on a shared interest of peace and security, including energy security, humanitarian affairs and counter-terrorism efforts in the Middle East.
Saudi Arabia has ordered the Canadian ambassador to leave the Kingdom within 24 hours, and said it would freeze "all new business" between the Kingdom and Canada.
The ministry said it considers Ms. Freeland's actions "as an affront to the kingdom that requires a sharp response to prevent any party from attempting to meddle with Saudi sovereignty", and it chided Canada for what it called undiplomatic language.
The statement came after the Canadian foreign ministry and the Canadian embassy urged the Saudi authorities to "immediately release" civil rights activists.
Last week, the Canadian government publicly took the Saudis to task after the kingdom arrested two women's-rights activists, the latest to be swept up in a government crackdown on activists, clerics and journalists.
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The Saudi foreign ministry slammed the Canadian statement, signalling its growing irritation over Western criticism of the kingdom's poor human rights record.
The Saudi foreign ministry voiced anger over the Canadian statement.
Freeland said on social media last Thursday that she was "alarmed" to hear of Samar Badawi's arrest.
"Any further step from the Canadian side in that direction will be considered as acknowledgment of our right to interfere in the Canadian domestic affairs", the Saudis said.
The move follows vigorous calls by Canada for the immediate release of activists that have been detained. Samar Badawi is the sister-in-law of Raif Badawi's wife Ensaf Haidar, who lives in Canada and recently became a Canadian citizen. "The legitimate rights (of those arrested) have not been denied and they were provided with all guarantees during the investigation and trial stages", the statement said. Canada also imports $2.6 billion in goods from Saudi Arabia, with the overwhelming majority being mineral products.
In April, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau expressed his "serious concern" over the continued jailing of Badawi to Saudi King Salman.
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