Saudi Arabia-Canada spat explained

10 August, 2018, 15:30 | Author: Rachel Logan
  • Saudi Arabia expelling Canadian ambassador and suspending new trade with Canada

Saudi Arabia's government said on Sunday that it would "put on hold all new business and investment with Canada" after a Global Affairs Canada tweet expressed concerns about the arrests of women's rights activists in the kingdom.

Saudi Arabia has said it is freezing all new trade with Canada and expelling its ambassador over its "interference" in the kingdom's domestic affairs.

The dispute ostensibly arose because of a tweet issued by Canada's Global Affairs Ministry decrying the arrest and detention of two female bloggers and activists and urging Saudi authorities to immediately free the two women - one of whom was Samar Badawi, sister of jailed blogger Raif Badawi - as well as "all peaceful human rights activists".

Ms Badawi's brother was arrested in 2012 for criticism of the regime, and was subjected to 50 lashings in 2015.

Saudi Arabia's foreign ministry responded to the online plea to release human rights campaigners saying it's a breach of sovereignty.

Riyadh accuses Ottawa of meddling Riyadh accused Ottawa on Tuesday of interfering in its internal affairs. Both the Saudi and Canadian ambassadors were away on leave when it was made.

Just two months ago, Saudi women were given the right to drive a auto, 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.

McTeague said the risk of Saudi Arabia causing gas prices to rise is minimal - even locally in New Brunswick - given the "very robust market" globally for crude and Irving Oil's allocation to the USA northeast.

"And by hitting Canada - which is big enough to matter but small enough not to be a risk to Saudi - he sends a message elsewhere", Kliment said.

More news: Crude oil up slightly as commodity remains directionless

Canada last week said it was "gravely concerned" over a new wave of arrests, including award-winning gender rights activist Samar Badawi, pictured left. His wife, Ensaf Haidar, now lives in Canada.

Later Monday, the row appeared to escalate as Riyadh said it will relocate thousands of Saudi students studying in Canada to other countries, and state airline Saudia announced it was suspending flights to and from Toronto.

"The Saudi students - and their tuition - will be placed in study programs in other countries with similar education systems, such as the United Kingdom or the United States", according to the official.

Saudi Arabia's main state wheat buying agency, the Saudi Grains Organization (SAGO), has told grains exporters it will no longer accept Canadian-origin grains in its worldwide purchase tenders, European traders said.

However, supporters of women's rights were arrested just weeks before the ban was lifted, signaling that only King Salman and his powerful son, Crown Prince Mohammed, will decide the pace of change. Saudi Arabia has supported rebels in Syria who are losing a war against President Bashar Assad and its military become bogged down by the bloody and costly war it is waging in neighboring Yemen.

"The only class of wheat that Canada still exports to the region is durum but even that is not that much".

"We have raised (the issue) with the government of Saudi Arabia", Heather Nauert said speaking to reporters in Washington.

A Financial Times reporter, Ahmed Al Omran, citing Saudi state TV, tweeted that students would be transferred to schools in the U.S., the UK, Australia, and New Zealand.

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