Saudi Arabia escalates punishment to Canada

Analysis
              
                
       Screenshot

Analysis Screenshot

Saudi Arabia's state airline is suspending flights to and from Toronto from next week amid an escalating row over human rights.

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

A U.S. State Department spokesperson says Saudi Arabia and Canada are "close partners" and Washington would ask the Saudi government for more information about the arrests of women's rights activists.

A spokesman said: "The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia...will not accept interference in its internal affairs or imposed diktats from any country".

It estimates that at least 15 Saudi activists have been arrested since May 15, though some estimate the actual number of unreported arrests may be higher.

State-run television has reported that Riyadh will stop training, scholarship and fellowship programs in Canada - a move that will apparently affect the scholarships of more than 15,000 students attending university in Canada.

Amnesty International noted Ms Badawi has been repeatedly targeted and interrogated by Saudi security forces for her human rights activist.

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"Both Canada and the United States lost the Middle East market a long time ago. because they are at a freight disadvantage (with higher ocean shipping costs) to the European Union and Black Sea export markets", the consultant said.

"He was sentenced to 1,000 lashes and 10 years in prison, he received 50 lashes in 2015 and he could receive others, but he hasn't", she said.

The first Canadian source said Ottawa had no regrets about speaking out on human rights in Saudi Arabia.

Riyadh accused Ottawa on Tuesday of interfering in its internal affairs.

While both countries are friends of the USA, "both sides need to diplomatically resolve this together", State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert told a media briefing later Tuesday.

Freeland would only tell reporters Monday that the Canadian ambassador is "fine" and would not disclose his location.

The Canadian Minister of Foreign Affairs responded by expressing concern over Saudi Arabia's actions, but resolving to stand their ground.

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Human rights advocate and former Canadian justice minister Irwin Cotler denounced the Saudi decision to pull students out of the country. But Qatar, which is locked in a diplomatic rift with Saudi Arabia and other neighbors for over a year, said on its foreign ministry's official Twitter account that the GCC secretary general's statement did not represent its view of the situation.

It all started with a tweet from Canada's Minister of Foreign Affairs Chrystia Freeland.

Riyadh on Sunday recalled its ambassador from Canada and gave the Canadian ambassador 24 hours to leave, Azvision reports citing Mirage News.

If this hostility continues and Saudi Arabia chooses to cut off its oil supply to Canada, the East Coast might see an oil and gasoline shortage in the coming months.

"The United Arab Emirates are going to want to maintain relationships with Canada".

Saudi Arabia's main state wheat-buying agency has told grains exporters it will no longer buy Canadian wheat and barley in its global tenders, European traders said on Tuesday.

Saudi Arabia's trade freeze now throws that deal into doubt.

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