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 Saudi government on Sunday recalled its ambassador to Ottawa, barred Canada's ambassador to Riyadh and placed a ban on new trade, denouncing Canada for urging the release of rights activists. Responding to the Saudi move to freeze trade and expel the Canadian ambassador, Ottawa said, "Canada will always stand up for human rights in Canada and around the world, and women's rights are human rights".
Analysts say the dispute between Riyadh and Ottawa shows Saudi Arabia won't accept any outside criticism and will continue flexing its muscles overseas, especially as the kingdom enjoys a closer relationship with President Donald Trump.
"It is completely unacceptable for other countries to think their modules and experiences allow them to interfere in our internal matters", said the UAE's Minister of State for Foreign Affairs on Twitter. Freeland declined to comment on Horak's exact location and would only say he was doing fine. Freeland said the embassy in Saudi Arabia is still in place and providing services to Canadians.
A Financial Times reporter, Ahmed Al Omran, citing Saudi state TV, tweeted that students would be transferred to schools in the U.S., the UK, Australia, and New Zealand.
Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland said Monday that Canada will continue to support women's rights and speak out on behalf of them.
Bessma Momani, an analyst on Middle East affairs and professor at the University of Waterloo, said the move will resonate domestically.
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There could be a sentiment among allies that, "Finally the Trudeau government is getting poked back in the eye by the Saudis".
Amnesty International has said Badawi, the sister of jailed blogger Raif Badawi, was recently detained along with Nassima al-Sada, another prominent female activist.
The true impact of Saudi Arabia's flexing of diplomatic muscle is still unclear.
The image, which showed an Air Canada plane aimed at Toronto's skyline, attracted criticism soon after it was posted. Officials said on state television that there are more than 12,000 Saudi students and family members in Canada, and that many will be transferred to other countries, including the United States.
He said that the authorities in Saudi Arabia made it clear that those arrested committed legal violations that necessitated law enforcement.
The ministry said it ordered the owner of the account to shut it down while investigations are completed.