Economy

US Weighs In on Saudi-Canada Diplomatic Dispute

US Weighs In on Saudi-Canada Diplomatic Dispute

Canada has said it is "gravely concerned" about the arrests and has called for those detained to be released immediately.

Saudi Arabia's state media threatened Toronto in this grim tweet.

Kocijancic said the commission wants to understand the allegations against the activists and to ensure they receive a fair trial.

Another activist, Badawi's brother Raif, has been incarcerated since 2012.

Saudi Arabia is its second-largest export market in the Persian Gulf, behind the United Arab Emirates.

The spat began last week with a tweet from Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland, criticizing Saudi Arabia's crackdown on dissidents and calling for the release of "peaceful #humanrights activists".

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.

"What we're seeing.is (an) example of growing hyper-nationalism constructed in Saudi Arabia: vigorously defending sovereignty through punitive measures against transnational civil society groups and countries that support them", said Diwan.

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

United Kingdom preparing to ask Moscow for Novichok suspects
Britain has accused Russian president Vladimir Putin of personally ordering the attack on the Skripals, a claim denied by Moscow. At the same time, the news agency reports that Russian Federation "is certain to reject" United Kingdom to provide extradition.

Plans to relocate 7,000 students and their families in Canada to other countries, primarily the United States and Britain, were already underway, education ministry official Jassem al-Harbash said. The Saudi government has said that it will cut scholarships for thousands of its students to study in Canada and national airline Saudia announced that it will suspend flights to Toronto beginning on August 13.

On Sunday, Saudi Arabia expelled Canada's ambassador and recalled its own ambassador from Ottawa. The Saudi government funds the tuition of many of those students.

"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.

"The only class of wheat that Canada still exports to the region is durum but even that is not that much". McGill's medical school is four years into a five-year deal with the Saudis.

Another source said Canada will be turning to its old ally the United Kingdom for help, which has appealed for calm. The British government on Tuesday urged Canada and Saudi Arabia to show restraint.

"Bahrain regrets Canada's position, based on totally erroneous information that has nothing to do with reality on the ground", Bahrain's Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement.

The source said Canada had no regrets about speaking out on human rights in Saudi Arabia. Her former husband, Waleed Abu al-Khair, is now serving a 15-year prison sentence for his human rights work and her brother, the famed activist and blogger - Raif Badawi - has been sentenced to 10 years in prison and 1,000 lashes for setting a website for public discourse. "It is a country that has great significance in the world, that is making progress in the area of human rights", he said.

Ensaf Haidar, Raif Badawi's wife, who lives in Quebec with her three children, said Monday she was surprised when she heard about the two new arrests.

The clash with the Saudis is not the first time Canada risked losing major business over its "rights-first" diplomacy.


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