Canada defiant after Saudi Arabia freezes new trade over human rights call

Canada defiant after Saudi Arabia freezes new trade over human rights call

Canada defiant after Saudi Arabia freezes new trade over human rights call

Saudia issued a tweet early Tuesday saying flights to and from Canada would be suspended starting August 13.

Harbash added that they are capable of transferring all Saudi students from Canada to countries with cultural missions in the US, UK, New Zealand and Australia, all of which are considered countries with top education institutions, and have good relations with Saudi Arabia.

Riyadh on Sunday recalled its ambassador from Canada and gave the Canadian ambassador to Saudi Arabia 24 hours to leave.

"Canada will always stand up for the protection of human rights, including women's rights and freedom of expression around the world", she said.

Badawi's wife Ensaf Haidar has been granted asylum by Canada, where she is raising their three children.

Her brother Mr Badawi was sentenced to 10 years in prison and 1,000 lashes for "insulting Islam" online back in 2014.

The United States said Tuesday that both Canada and Saudi Arabia are "close partners" of the US, and asked the Saudi government for more information of the detention of several activists. "If you want to open up your country to the world, you don't start expelling ambassadors and freezing trade with countries such as Canada", said Joost Hiltermann, regional program director for the International Crisis Group.

In its first response to the row, the Canadian foreign ministry said: "we are seriously concerned by these media reports and are seeking greater clarity on the recent statement from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia".

"The normal diplomatic route would have been to call the ambassador in and to let him know your displeasure and then to try to move from there", MacKay, Canada's foreign affairs minister from 2006 to 2007 and defence minister from 2007 to 2013, said in an interview with BNN.

The rupture, which underscores a newly aggressive foreign policy led by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, comes after Canada denounced a new crackdown on women and human rights campaigners in the kingdom. Matt Pascuzzo said the Canadian government is in constant contact with Saudi Arabia and still waiting to get all the facts from the Saudis.

The feud between the two countries has escalated quickly since it began Friday, when Canada's Ministry of Foreign Affairs raised concerns about the kingdom's human-rights record.

According to the Association of Atlantic Universities (AAU), there are 109 students from Saudi Arabia enrolled in iniversity in New Brunswick, 42 in PEI and 685 in Nova Scotia.

Saint Mary's University estimated there are about 100 students from Saudi Arabia studying at their campus while there were 80 at Mount Saint Vincent during the winter semester.

In the fist comments by Washington since the dispute erupted, a U.S. State Department official said the United States had asked Riyadh for details on the detention of activists.

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