Oman issues statement on Saudi-Canada stand-off

There were 327 Saudi students at Mc Gill University last year.					Marie France Coallier  Montreal Gazette

There were 327 Saudi students at Mc Gill University last year. Marie France Coallier Montreal Gazette

The fallout is a result of a tweet from Global Affairs Canada calling for the kingdom to immediately release jailed human rights activists.

Saudi Arabia has recalled its ambassador to Ottawa and ordered its Canadian envoy to Riyadh to leave within 24 hours, according to a Saudi Foreign Ministry statement. Media reports also suggest Saudi Arabia may cancel thousands of scholarships for students attending school in Canada.

The former head of the Human Rights Commission in Saudi Arabia, Dr Hadi Bin Al Yami, said that the Canadian government's actions violate diplomatic norms governing state relations.

"When it comes to the broader relationship with Saudi Arabia, our diplomats have asked procedural questions today and we're waiting for answers on how Saudi Arabia intends to go forward with the relationship", she said in Vancouver.

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.

Samar Badawi is a famed women's right activist and is the sister of Raif Badawi, a blogger sentenced to 1,000 lashes and 10 years for insulting Islam by a Saudi Arabian court in 2014.

"All Saudia flights from/to Toronto, Canada will be suspended starting from 13 Aug 2018", the airline wrote in a statement posted on Twitter.

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

"We must stand with Saudi Arabia as it defends its leadership and laws".

Mr Alzayani criticised Canada's statements and unsubstantiated allegations that he said violate the worldwide 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.

Riyadh's singling out of Canada is aimed at strongly discouraging other critical Western governments from speaking out, observers say.

There could be a sentiment among allies that, "Finally the Trudeau government is getting poked back in the eye by the Saudis".

Thomas Juneau, an assistant professor at the University of Ottawa, said it is hard to determine what the economic impact on Canada would be without specifics on which trade deals will be affected.

"We are waiting to hear from Saudi Arabia details of its response and we look forward to hearing those details".

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