Saudi Arabia renews rejection of interference in internal affairs

Marco Green
August 10, 2018

Ms. Nauert told reporters at the State Department Tuesday that Washington is well aware of human rights concerns regarding Saudi Arabia, but she avoided taking a hard position on the Canada-Saudi spat.

Saudi Arabia expelled the Canadian ambassador Monday and froze "all new business" with Ottawa over criticism of its arrest of women's rights activists.

On Tuesday, Saudi's main state wheat agency told traders it had stopped buying Canadian-origin wheat and barley. The loss will have a "negligible impact on our bottom line", Weeks said Tuesday.

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".

The central bank did not immediately respond to a Reuters query for comment.

The next day, the Canadian foreign ministry called for their "immediate release".

"I think the students are in shock right now.they haven't really understood what will happen and what their next steps are", she added.

In recent months Saudi Arabia has lifted a ban on women driving, but it has also arrested activists, including more than a dozen high-profile campaigners for women's rights.

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

"Canada stands together with the Badawi family in this hard time, and we continue to strongly call for the release of both Raif and Samar Badawi", Freeland tweeted.

"We've been saying that without a serious human rights evaluation, we should not be transferring any military aid, any arms to Saudi Arabia", Paul said. Saudi Arabia has invested about $6 billion Canadian businesses since 2006, data compiled by Bloomberg show.

Because of an escalating foreign policy dispute between their country and Canada, Saudi students may leave Canadian schools en masse.

The United States said Tuesday that both Canada and Saudi Arabia are "close partners" of the USA, and asked the Saudi government for more information of the detention of several activists.

In a tweet from Saudi Airlines, the suspension will come into effect on August 13.

The Saudis have also threatened to exclude Canadian companies from participation in the lucrative Vision 2030 programme, where the kingdom is spending hundreds of billions of dollars to modernise its economy.

Niagara College was expecting 40 students from Saudi Arabia to arrive for the fall term.

At the same time, it sends a strong message to European and Middle Eastern countries not to "mess" with Saudi Arabia, Juneau said. Much of that was tanks, armored personnel carriers and motor vehicles.

Egypt said it stands in "solidarity" with the Saudis against Canadian meddling, while Bahrain accused Canada of attempting to undermine Saudi Arabia's sovereignty.

One well placed source said the Liberal government of Prime Minister Justin Trudeau - which stresses the importance of human rights - planned to reach out to the United Arab Emirates.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

Discuss This Article