Published: Wed, August 08, 2018
Worldwide | By Lisa Hogan

Explainer: Saudi Arabia's diplomatic dispute with Canada

Explainer: Saudi Arabia's diplomatic dispute with Canada

Russian Federation voiced support for Saudi Arabia in its worsening row with Canada on Wednesday, telling Ottawa it was unacceptable to lecture the kingdom on human rights.

"Canada stands together with the Badawi family in this hard time", she tweeted on Friday, referring to the jailed women's rights activist, "and we continue to strongly call for the release of both Raif and Samar Badawi". They further ended diplomatic ties, froze all new trade and investment and cancelled flights via their national carrier to Toronto.

A diplomatic spat between Canada and Saudi Arabia shows no sign of abating after Riyadh ordered thousands of Saudi students in Canada to leave the country.

According to a report by state-owned media outlet Al Arabiya, "training, scholarships and fellowships" for Saudi students in Canada are being shelved.

"Canada will always stand up for human rights in Canada and around the world, and women's rights are human rights", said Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland on Monday.

Other sanctions include Saudi patients in Canada having their treatments stopped and being relocated to a medical facility outside the country.

Jubeir added that the kingdom was still "considering additional measures" against Canada.

Canada asking allies to help cool Saudi dispute: Report
If you're surprised by Saudi Arabia's fight with Canada, you haven't been paying attention

But in response the Saudi government on Sunday recalled its ambassador to Ottawa, barred Canada's ambassador in Riyadh and placed a ban on new trade, denouncing Canada for urging the release of rights activists.

The Canadian dollar fell on Wednesday after the Financial Times reported that Saudi Arabian officials instructed the kingdom's asset managers to dump their holdings of the country's assets.

Saudi's asset sales may not have a big impact on the Canadian currency, although thin trading during the summer holiday could exacerbate that effect. Riyadh said Ottawa was interfering in its internal affairs.

Watch the Canadian dollar trade in real-time here.

Saudi Arabia's central bank has instructed its fund managers to sell off their Canadian holdings, three people familiar with the matter said, the latest move in a widening diplomatic row that has also hit trade between the two countries as well as Saudi students studying overseas. Saudia Airlines has also announced it will suspend flights to and from Canada starting August 13.

It remains unclear how many Saudi patients will be affected by the decision.

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