US, EU seek details of Saudi arrests but dodge Canada spat

Saudi Arabia Expels Canadian Ambassador, To Withdraw Students From Canada Over Women's Rights Criticism

Saudi state television later reported that the Education Ministry was coming up with an "urgent plan" to move thousands of Saudi scholarship students out of Canadian schools to take classes in other countries.

Saudi Airlines issued a tweet early Tuesday saying flights to and from Canada would be suspended starting August 13.

Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates have publicly backed Saudi Arabia in the dispute.

"We stand by what we have said".

"Any other attempt to interfere with our internal affairs from Canada, means that we are allowed to interfere in Canada's internal affairs", the Saudi government said.

Those held include the Saudi-American human rights campaigner Samar Badawi, sister of jailed blogger Raif Badawi.

Reid, president of Unifor's Local 27, said the operation supports up to 7,000 spin-off jobs and he hopes the Saudi government will continue to live up to its existing contract.

Saudi Arabia's main state wheat buying agency has told grains exporters it will no longer buy Canadian wheat and barley in its worldwide tenders, European traders said on Tuesday, as a diplomatic dispute between the two countries escalates.

The dispute appeared centered around tweets by Canadian diplomats calling on the kingdom to "immediately release" detained women's rights activists.

Raif Badawi was sentenced to 10 years in prison and 1,000 lashes for "insulting Islam" online back in 2014. "The United States has respect for internationally recognized freedoms and also individual liberty - that certainly hasn't changed". His wife, Ensaf Haidar, lives in Canada and received Canadian citizenship in July.

Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland wrote on Twitter on Thursday that she was "very alarmed" to learn that Ms Badawi had been detained. "We can't do it for them; they need to resolve it together", U.S. State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert told a briefing.

They are "the latest victims of an unprecedented government crackdown on the women's rights movement that began on May 15, 2018 and has resulted in the arrest of more than a dozen activists", the US-based rights group said. Women were only recently granted the right to drive and are required to get approval from a male guardian for most basic activities.

The airline's announcement comes amid newly surfaced tensions between Canada and Saudi Arabia triggered by Ottawa's criticism of detentions in the kingdom.

The Canadian government is sympathetic towards the PA.

Tanks, armored vehicles and parts and motor vehicles accounted for about 45% of Canada's 2016 exports to the kingdom, while crude oil and copper ores comprised about 98% of imports, according to a government report.

"This year could have been a year where we could have seen some (Canadian) barley trade there in October-November", said Jerry Klassen, manager at trading house GAP SA Grains and Products in Winnipeg.

Amnesty International said the response to Canada showed that it was important Western countries not be intimidated into silence over Riyadh's treatment of dissenters.

The diplomatic spat between Canada and Saudi Arabia that erupted over the weekend has left many wondering what exactly is going on. In 2015, Riyadh recalled its ambassador to Sweden and stopped issuing work visas for Swedes after the European Union member country's foreign minister described the Badawi court decision as "medieval" and the kingdom's ruling Al Saud family as presiding over a "dictatorship".

She noted it's unclear how numerous students are impacted by the Saudi government's decision to axe their scholarships, but there are options available to help them stay.

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