Saudi Arabia expelling Canadian ambassador

06 August, 2018, 12:16 | Author: Sue Mclaughlin
  • Saudi Arabia freezes all trade investment in Canada - Saudi Press Agency

Saudi Arabia has expelled Canada's ambassador and frozen all trade and investment with Ottowa over an escalating dispute centered on jailed human rights activists.

The ministry said what the Canadian foreign minister and the Canadian Embassy said about what they called "civil society activists" was false allegations and not based on truth.

The Saudi Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced on Sunday, recalling its ambassador in Canada for consultation, and declared the Ambassador of Canada persona non-grata, giving him 24 hours to leave.

The overwhelming majority of its exports to Saudi Arabia are in vehicles and equipment, which included a controversial 15 billion Canadian dollar deal to sell more than 900 light armored vehicles to the Saudis. They called on Saudi authorities to "immediately release" the detainees.

Saudi Arabia has suspended diplomatic relations with Canada following a tweet by Global Affairs Canada about the arrest of several women campaigning in Saudi Arabia. Saudi Arabia recalled its ambassador from Sweden and Stockholm cancelled a defence agreement with the Saudis. Badawi and al-Sadah were, Reuters says, "the latest two to be swept up in a government crackdown on activists, clerics and journalists".

On Thursday, Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland said she was "very alarmed" by the news of Samar Badawi's arrest, the sister of imprisoned blogger Raif Badawi.

Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton and first lady Michelle Obama present the 2012 International Women of Courage Award to Samar Badawi of Saudi Arabia, on the 101st Anniversary of International Women's Day, March 8, 2012, at the State Department in Washington.

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"The Ministry also affirmed that the Canadian position is an explicit and transparent interference in the internal affairs of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia", the ministry said. "The persons referred to were lawfully detained by the public prosecution for committing crimes punishable by applicable law", the ministry said.

Saudi Arabia has given Canada's ambassador 24 hours to leave the country.

Following this, it also froze its all new business and investment transactions with Canada.

Saudi Arabia's foreign ministry did not take well to the statement, suggesting Canada's use of "immediate release" was "unfortunate, reprehensible and unacceptable in relations between states".

Canada has not yet responded to the move. Many are anxious that the actual number of unreported arrests may be higher.

He drew widespread praise past year when they announced that the decades-old ban on women driving would end on 24 June. Activists told the Wall Street Journal that the recent government crackdown is aimed at preventing anyone from claiming credit for the abolition of the ban.

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