Saudi Arabia's diplomatic dispute with Canada: An explainer

Saudi Arabia's diplomatic dispute with Canada: An explainer

Saudi Arabia's diplomatic dispute with Canada: An explainer

On Tuesday, the Saudi government announced it had suspended flights between its airports and Toronto and would begin pulling thousands of scholarships for students studying at Canadian post-secondary institutions.

Meanwhile, the U.S. State Department offered a tepid response to the sanctions that took pains to avoid taking sides, saying it is "aware" of Saudi Arabia's actions and considers both countries to be "close partners" of the United States.

Officials said they would cover cancellation fees, issue refunds and find alternative flights for stranded travellers, according to a story on the CBC National website. He said the Trudeau government let the Saudi-Canada relationship wither in recent years because of public outcry over a $15-billion deal to sell Canadian armoured vehicles to Riyadh.

Riyadh said that amounted to "a blatant interference in the Kingdom's domestic affairs, against basic global norms and all worldwide protocols".

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Saudi Arabia will withdraw all of its students studying in Canada in an intensifying feud between the two countries.

Last week, Canada said it was "gravely concerned" over the new wave of arrests of rights campaigners, including award-winning gender rights activist Samar Badawi, and called on Riyadh to 'immediately release them'.

Some analysts perceive the move as both a power play for the kingdom's young leader and a demonstration put on for the benefit of countries with stronger ties to Saudi Arabia than Canada.

"We can't do it for them", she said.

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"Both Canada and the U.S. lost the Middle East market a long time ago. because they are at a freight disadvantage (with higher ocean shipping costs) to the European Union and Black Sea export markets", the consultant said. Saudi Arabia has claimed that the arrests targeted those who sought to "destabilize the Kingdom", and were done by following the country's legal guidelines. These are just a few diplomatic sanctions Saudi Arabia has imposed on Canada in the wake of a tweet over jailed Saudi activists by Canadian officials.

Over the weekend, a diplomatic dispute prompted Saudi Arabia to freeze new trade and investment deals with Canada, expel Ottawa's ambassador and recall its own envoy.

In an earlier response to Freeland's tweet, the Foreign Ministry of Saudi Arabia issued a statement ordering Canadian Ambassador Dennis Horak to leave the country within 24 hours.

A Saudi Arabia threat on Monday to carry out a 9/11-style attack on Canada has provoked a huge backlash.

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The BBC's Martin Patience in Beirut says the surprise expulsion of the Canadian ambassador highlights the increasingly aggressive - and at times erratic - foreign policy being pursued by Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman. Freedland urged the Saudi government to "immediately release them". Riyadh accused Ottawa on Tuesday of interfering in its internal affairs. "But I would not deliver Canadian grains to Saudi Arabia now, even on previous contracts", the trader added. "The first Canadian source said Ottawa had no regrets about speaking out on human rights in Saudi Arabia".

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