Saudia suspends flights to Canada, escalating diplomatic spat

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In another explicit display of the country's displeasure with Canada, Saudi Arabia's state airline has suspended all flights to and from Toronto.

Saudi Arabia has called Canada's actions a "blatant interference in the Kingdom's domestic affairs" and has responded with a series of diplomatic measures, including freezing new trade and investment with the country.

Since Monday social media has been saturated by the surprising news that Saudi Arabia chose to expel the Canadian ambassador, along with freezing trade and investment ties with Canada.

The dispute ostensibly arose because of a tweet issued by Canada's Global Affairs Ministry decrying the arrest and detention of two female bloggers and activists and urging Saudi authorities to immediately free the two women - one of whom was Samar Badawi, sister of jailed blogger Raif Badawi - as well as "all peaceful human rights activists". "But I would not deliver Canadian grains to Saudi Arabia now, even on previous contracts", the trader added.

According to a Saudi source who spoke to the Canadian press, there are more than 15,000 Saudis studying in Canada on government-funded scholarships, grants or trainee programs.

Her brother Mr Badawi was sentenced to 10 years in prison and 1,000 lashes for "insulting Islam" online back in 2014.

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The French club hope to use their good relationship with Barcelona , established during the 2016 sale of Samuel Umtiti, in their favour.

Canada's largest refinery in Saint John, N.B., owned by Irving Oil, relies on Saudi Arabia for almost 40 per cent of its crude supply, according 2018 statistics from the National Energy Board.

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

Prince Mohammed, heir to the region's most powerful throne, has introduced a string of reforms such as lifting a decades-long ban on women drivers in a bid to overhaul the kingdom's austere image.

But Qatar, which has been 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. His wife, Ensaf Haidar, lives in Canada and recently became a Canadian citizen.

Amnesty International said the response to Canada showed that it was important Western countries not be intimidated into silence over Riyadh's treatment of dissenters.

"So neither Saudi nor Canada are going to be affected much by stopping the wheat and barley trade".

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