Saudia suspends flights to Canada, escalating diplomatic spat

Saudi Arabia appears to threaten Canada with 9/11 style attack after expelling its ambassador in row over jailed activists

The country's state airline also cancelled all direct flights to Toronto.

The airline now operates at least two routes flying out of Toronto's Pearson International Airport - one to the Saudi capital city of Riyadh, the other to the city of Jeddah.

Ottawa did not give any ground over the shock expulsion of the envoy, Dennis Horak, with Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland saying Canada would continue to defend human rights around the world. Riyadh has also recalled its ambassador from Ottawa and has also expelled the Canadian ambassador in Saudi Arabia.

Saudi Arabia on Sunday expelled Canada's ambassador and said it would freeze new trade deals following a tweet by Global Affairs Canada criticizing the kingdom's arrests of human rights activists, including women's rights activists.

Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir said Saudi Arabia "will deal with any interference decisively", dismissing Canada's position as "built on misleading information", in a statement carried by state media. Both the Saudi and Canadian ambassadors were away on leave at the time.

Many Saudis went onto suggest that Canada should mind its own business in handling their local crisis, or help the indigenous women of Canada instead of interfering in Saudi Arabia.

The first source said Canada shared the view of foreign policy experts who believe the Saudi reaction reflected internal strains inside the kingdom, where 32-year-old Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman is trying to push through domestic reforms.

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

She added: "Let me be very clear: Canada will always stand up for human rights in Canada and around the world, and women's rights are human rights".

Amnesty International has said Badawi, the sister of jailed blogger Raif Badawi, was recently detained along with Nassima al-Sada, another prominent female activist.

Raif Badawi's wife has been granted asylum by Canada.

Counting several Saudi diplomatic figures among its more than 350,000 followers, the now-deleted account is run by volunteers and managed by Saudi youth with an interest in technology and social media, according to an affiliated website.

"These countries are able to host the students, and we at the ministry are committed to facilitating the students' transfers so they can easily complete their education", he said.

In the fist comments by Washington since the dispute erupted, a U.S. State Department official said the United States had asked Riyadh for details on the detention of activists.

Related News:



Most liked

Royal couple attend friend’s wedding on Meghan’s 37th birthday
So if Pippa does, indeed, go into labour in October, the Duchess of Cambridge will likely want to be at her sister's side. He was even an an usher at Harry and Meghan's wedding at Windsor Castle in May.

Child pulled from Tampa river dies, woman in custody
Multiple witnesses had called police about 30 minutes earlier and had reported seeing a woman throw the girl into the river. Denson is accused of stealing a car from an auto fix shop, then parking the vehicle on North Rome Avenue, police said .

RBI increases repo rate by 25 bps to 6.50%, reverse repo unchanged
The RBI's policy statement also mentioned that minimum support price (MSP) hike as the primary factor stoking inflation this year. Higher rates make loans slightly more expensive, weighing on some mortgage holders and businesses looking for credit to invest.

Randy Moss Presented with Gold Jacket in Canton
You challenged me every day to go out there to be great. "I loved my time in Buffalo". "I'm proud of who I am, " Owens said. The six-time Pro Bowler compiled 15,934 receiving yards and 153 receiving touchdowns on 1,078 career receptions.