What Saudi Arabia's sanctions on Canada is really about

07 August, 2018, 22:09 | Author: Trevor Moore
  • Saudi Arabia's Foreign Minister Adel al Jubeir gives a speech during the 8th Ministerial Meeting of China Arab States Cooperation Forum at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing

The Saudi Foreign Ministry took exception to the wording of the tweet, calling it an attempt by Canada to interfere with the country's internal affairs.

Freeland's tweet led to the kingdom ordering Canada's ambassador Dennis Horak to leave the country within 24-hours and freezing all new trade and investment transactions with Canada on Sunday. It could also have an impact on Canadian oil imports: Canada imports nine per cent of its crude oil from Saudi Arabia, much of which goes to the Atlantic provinces.

Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland stood by Canada's position on Monday, saying Canadians expect their government's foreign policy to be guided by their values. Raif Badawi was arrested in 2012 for running a blog that promoted free speech and women's rights in Saudi Arabia.

Saudi Arabia expelled the Canadian ambassador on Monday and froze "all new business" with Ottawa over its criticism of the ultraconservative kingdom's arrest of women's rights activists - yet another warning to the West reflecting Riyadh's newly assertive foreign policy.

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

According to Thompson Rivers University figures, there are 2,839 worldwide students enrolled, nine per cent of which - 256 - are from Saudi Arabia, which makes up the third-most contingent of students at TRU, behind India (22 per cent; 625 students) and China (30 per cent; 852 students).

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Gunfire was heard downtown throughout the afternoon, including near the ruling party headquarters where protesters had gathered.

Canada last week said it was "gravely concerned" over a new wave of arrests, including award-winning gender rights activist Samar Badawi, pictured left.

Traders said they had received an official notice from the Saudi Grains Organization (SAGO) about its decision.

His wife, Ensaf Haidar, and three children were granted Canadian citizenship earlier this summer, and live in Quebec's Eastern Townships.

Tension began to build on Thursday after Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland tweeted she was alarmed to learn that Samar Badawi, Raif Badawi's sister, has been imprisoned in Saudi Arabia.

The Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights estimates that at least 15 human rights defenders and women's rights activists critical of the Saudi government had been arrested or detained arbitrarily since 15 May.

Mr Alzayani criticised Canada's statements and unsubstantiated allegations that he said violate the global diplomatic norms and represent a flagrant and unacceptable interference in the internal affairs and encroach on the United Nations charter, the Bahrain News Agency reported.

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