Saudi Airlines suspends all flights to and from Canada amid growing dispute

Saudi Airlines suspends all flights to and from Canada amid growing dispute

Saudi Airlines suspends all flights to and from Canada amid growing dispute

"Throughout its long history, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has never accepted any interference in its domestic affairs by, or orders from any country", the country's foreign ministry wrote on Twitter, accompanied by a weird and long-winded statement.

"This message is obviously not just being sent to Ottawa", said Giorgio Cafiero, the CEO of Gulf State Analytics, a Washington-based risk consultancy. The country has already demanded its approximately 15,000 students studying in Canada return home within a month.

The Saudi foreign ministry ordered Horak to leave the country, and called the use of "immediately release" in Canada's tweet "unfortunate, reprehensible, and unacceptable in relations between states".

Bahrain said it supports the measures by Saudi Arabia in response to statements made by Canada's foreign affairs minister.

Freeland said Canadians "expect" its foreign policy to be driven by Canadian values.

One Middle Eastern grain consultant said the decision was not a great loss to Canada, though.

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.

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

"We're reaching out ... to identify their circumstances, what their needs are, whether they have families with them", she said.

Dan McTeague, a senior analyst at the fuel price tracking website GasBuddy, said any such disruption could easily be offset by alternative supply, as Saudi Arabia's oil continues to represent an increasingly small portion of Canada's crude imports. "(The ambassador) was very clear in saying he was irritated by what he saw as passivity by the Canadian government, which in his view was not resisting that criticism". She declined to say where the ambassador was, but said he was safe. Saudi Arabia announced it was suspending future trade with Canada and severing diplomatic ties.

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Among the arrested activists is Samar Badawi, whose writer brother Raif Badawi was arrested in Saudi Arabia in 2012 and later sentenced to 1,000 lashes and 10 years in prison for insulting Islam while blogging.

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.

Freeland tweeted about the arrests on Thursday.

Nauert declined to denounce Saudi Arabia's detainment of the Badawi sisters.

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

He has introduced a raft of headline-grabbing reforms, such as lifting the ban on women being allowed to drive.

Saudi women still need permission from male guardians to travel overseas or marry. All scholarships for Saudi students in Canada were also suspended.

According to the Toronto Star, Canada's largest export recently has been armoured tanks and personnel carriers.

When asked about the contract, Freeland said the government "looks forward" to hearing from Riyadh about the future of the deal.

The true impact of Saudi Arabia's flexing of diplomatic muscle is still unclear.

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