Saudi Arabia expels Canadian ambassador, freezes business

06 August, 2018, 10:41 | Author: Angel Logan
  • Saudi Arabia

It also gave the Canadian ambassador 24 hours to leave the country and recalled its own ambassador to Canada, the statement by the Saudi foreign ministry said, adding it retained "its rights to take further action".

"The rupture in Saudi diplomatic relations with Canada reinforces how the "new" Saudi Arabia that Mohammed bin Salman is putting together is in no mood to tolerate any form of criticism of its handling of domestic affairs", said Kristian Ulrichsen, a fellow at Rice University's Baker Institute in the United States.

"The Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Saudi Arabia briefed the Canadian Foreign Minister and the Canadian Embassy in the Kingdom on what they called civil society activists who were arrested in the Kingdom".

Ambassador Dennis Horak is also the Canadian representative to Yemen, Bahrain and Oman.

"The kingdom announces that it is recalling its ambassador.to Canada for consultation".

"The Kingdom views the Canadian position as an affront to the Kingdom that requires a sharp response to prevent any party from attempting to meddle with Saudi sovereignty", the statement said.

"Canada will always stand up for the protection of human rights, very much including women's rights, and freedom of expression around the world", she said, adding "Our government will never hesitate to promote these values and believes that this dialogue is critical to worldwide diplomacy".

This is the latest in an ongoing dispute over jailed blogger Raif Badawi that appears to have been escalated by a tweet on Friday from Global Affairs Canada.

The move came after the Canadian embassy in Riyadh said it was "gravely concerned" over a new wave of arrests of human rights campaigners in the kingdom, including award-winning gender rights activist Samar Badawi.

Raif Badawi's wife Ensaf Haidar lives in Canada and recently became a Canadian citizen.

Freeland tweeted about the arrests on Thursday. "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".

Saudi Arabia ended in June its long practice of not allowing women to drive automobiles in the Sunni kingdom.

It isn't immediately clear what new business could be affected between the two countries.

Tanks, armored vehicles and parts and motor vehicles accounted for about 45 percent of Canada's 2016 exports to the kingdom, while crude oil and copper ores comprised about 98 percent of imports, according to a government report.

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