Saudi Arabia stops medical treatment programmes in Canada

Saudi Arabia stops medical treatment programmes in Canada

Saudi Arabia stops medical treatment programmes in Canada

Following diplomatic tensions on Monday between Canada and Saudi Arabia over Canadian Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland's statement criticizing the arrest of women's rights activists in that country, and the subsequent freeze on all trade with Canada, the approximately 15,000 Saudi Arabian students in Canada find themselves in an uncertain position.

Despite the dispute, Al-Falih said the current diplomatic crisis will not, in any way, impact Saudi Aramco's relations with its customers in Canada.

"We have always said that the politicisation of human rights matters is unacceptable", Zakharova said.

The move came amid an intensifying spat over human rights between the two countries, after Saudi Arabia expelled Canada's Ambassador in Riyadh, recalled its own Ambassador from Ottawa and froze "all new business" with Canada.

Thomas Juneau, an assistant professor at the University of Ottawa, said because the statement Sunday from Saudi Arabia specified that new trade deals will freeze, it is hard to determine what the economic impact will be. On the other hand, infuriated over Canada, Saudi Arabian Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir said there is no room for mediation.

"But we will continue underscoring challenges where and when they exist, in Saudi Arabia and elsewhere", he continued.

It also said, "Any other attempt to interfere with our internal affairs from Canada, means that we are allowed to interfere in Canada's internal affairs". Canadian exports to Saudi Arabia were about $1.12 billion in 2017, or 0.2 percent of the total value of Canadian exports.

Saudi Arabia's main state wheat-buying agency told grains exporters it will no longer accept Canadian-origin grains in global tenders, European traders said. His wife and children live in Canada and are Canadian citizens.

There could be a sentiment among allies that, "Finally the Trudeau government is getting poked back in the eye by the Saudis". Canadian investments in Saudi Arabia were still ongoing and would not be affected by the dispute, he said.

"There is a clear, uniquely Saudi dimension to this in the sense that in the last three years Saudi Arabia has been behaving very aggressively and assertively in the Middle East", he said, noting the blockade of Qatar and the war in Yemen.

The prime minister added that Canada respects the importance of Saudi Arabia in the world and recognizes it has made progress on a number of important issues.

He said Canada needed to "fix its big mistake".

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