Published: Wed, August 08, 2018
Global News | By Stacy Ballard

Fallout continues in the diplomatic dust-up between Canada, Saudi Arabia

Fallout continues in the diplomatic dust-up between Canada, Saudi Arabia

Saudi Arabia is bringing the diplomatic hammer down on Canada, sending a warning to countries around the world: criticize our human rights record and pay the price.

Russian Federation has said that Saudi Arabia has the right to reject Canada's interference and to express its annoyance at the "commanding tone" coming from a perceived position of moral superiority.

Additionally, on Monday it was announced that "training, scholarships and fellowships" for Saudi students in Canada are now being shelved.

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Samar Badawi was arrested along with fellow campaigner Nassima al-Sadah last week, the latest targets of what Human Rights Watch called an "unprecedented government crackdown" on women activists. Meanwhile, the Saudi Health Attaché in the United States and Canada, Dr. Fahd Al-Tamimi, said the Kingdom has stopped all treatment programs in Canada and is transferring all Saudi patients from Canadian hospitals to other hospitals outside Canada.

Saudi Arabia on Sunday expelled Canada's ambassador in retaliation for Ottawa's call to free detained Saudi civil society activists.

"It's up for the government of Saudi Arabia and the Canadians to work this out", said Heather Nauert, a spokesperson for the state department, on Tuesday.

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The Saudi Foreign Ministry took exception to the wording of the tweet, calling it an attempt by Canada to interfere with the country's internal affairs. Annual Saudi-Canadian trade hovers around $4bn. "I don't think, understanding Saudi Arabia's foreign policy, that they're going to climb down from this, so we're at an impasse".

All Saudi Arabian students now studying in Canada will be transferred to other countries. Saudi Arabia's airline suspended flights to and from Canada, potentially complicating travel plans for Canada's Muslim population as the annual Hajj pilgrimage to Mecca approaches later in August. Saudi central bank and state pension funds told their overseas asset managers to unload Canadian bonds, stocks, and cash holdings "no matter the cost", the report said.

Saudi Arabia, under the new leadership of young Mohammed Bin Salman, has undertaken a number of reforms to fight radicalism, and improve human rights and economic prospects for the country.

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