Published: Fri, August 10, 2018
World Media | By Cesar Oliver

Saudi Arabia's diplomatic dispute with Canada: An explainer

Saudi Arabia's diplomatic dispute with Canada: An explainer

"We're always going to speak up for woman's rights and that's not going to change", she said, adding that it wasn't the first time Canada has spoken out about human rights in Saudi Arabia.

Riyadh shot back, lashing out at what it described as "a blatant interference in the Kingdom's domestic affairs, against basic global norms and all worldwide protocols".

Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas also said on Monday that he rejects Canadian interference in "internal Saudi affairs".

Karim Kadim/THE CANADIAN PRESS via AP Passengers disembark a Saudi Arabian plane at Baghdad International Airport on October 19, 2017.

Last week, Canada said it was "gravely concerned" over the new wave of arrests of rights campaigners, including award-winning gender rights activist Samar Badawi, and called on Riyadh to 'immediately release them'.

The Saudi Foreign Ministry said it had recalled its envoy in Canada and also said it would freeze "all new business" between the kingdom and Canada.

"We are waiting for Saudi Arabia to offer some more specifics on what they intend to do", Freeland said when asked about the arms deal.

The Saudi government funds the tuition of many of those students.

A number of countries in the region have defended Saudi Arabia.

On Thursday, Aug. 2, Chrystia Freeland, Canada's foreign minister, sent out a tweet regarding human rights in the Middle East kingdom.

Badawi's wife and children fled Saudi Arabia and now live in Sherbrooke.

On Monday, Saudi's foreign ministry recalled its ambassador to Canada for consultations and declared the Canadian ambassador persona non grata, giving him 24 hours to leave.

It has suspended scholarships for about 16,000 Saudi students attending colleges and universities in Canada and plans to relocate them to other countries, and the state airline Saudia is suspending flights to Toronto. But the task of approving the export permits fell to the Liberals, who were lobbied by human rights activists to say no.

Saudi Arabia will withdraw all of its students studying in Canada in an intensifying feud between the two countries.

Saudi students studying in Canada now have the opportunity to transfer to 18 different countries to continue their studies "without being affected", Saudi Arabia's Deputy Minister of Educationfor Scholarship, General Supervisor of Cultural Attachés Jasser al-Harbash told Al Arabiya English on Tuesday.

While department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said US officials have raised human rights concerns with the Saudis in the past, she stressed that Riyadh and Ottawa "need to diplomatically resolve this together".

In response, the Saudi government has expelled Canada's ambassador from the country and frozen all new trade with Canada.

Armored tanks and personnel carriers have been Canada's biggest recent export to the kingdom.

"I don't think it will worsen the situation because very often when we make evident unjust imprisonments, like the case of Samar Badawi, that increases their protection and increases pressure on the government", she said in an interview Monday.

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