Saudi Arabia freezes all trade investment in Canada

Saudi Arabia freezes all trade investment in Canada

Saudi Arabia freezes all trade investment in Canada

Saudi Arabia expelled Canada's ambassador on Sunday and froze all new trade and investment deals with the country after the Canadian foreign ministry called on Riyadh to free jailed civil rights activists.

Riyadh also suspended new trade and investment with Canada.

Saudi Arabia said it would recall its ambassador to Canada as well.

The Saudi foreign ministry voiced anger over the Canadian statement.

The Saudi foreign ministry later tweeted: "The kingdom of Saudi Arabia. will not accept interference in its internal affairs or imposed diktats from any country".

"It's pathetic that rather than respect the basic rights of its citizens and end its wide scale persecution of independent voices, it's punishing even friendly states who give it helpful advice", Whitson told DW.

Saudi rights activists Samar Badawi, the sister of the jailed blogger Raif Badawi, and Nassima al-Sadah were detained last Wednesday, the latest targets of an "unprecedented government crackdown" that has seen more than a dozen activists arrested since May, according to Human Rights Watch. The Canadian government did not immediately comment Sunday night in response to the Saudi action.

Last week, authorities in Saudi Arabia detained two women's rights activists, broadening a campaign of arrests that has drawn global criticism and tainted the kingdom's top-down agenda of change.

#Statement | We have been briefed by what the #Canadian foreign minister and the Canadian embassy to the #Kingdom released on what they named "civil society rights activists", and we affirm that this negative and surprising attitude is an incorrect claim.

Mr. Allam said the Saudi-Canadian relationship has been strained in recent years because of a public debate over whether to sell billions of dollars of armoured vehicles to Riyadh and the kingdom's continued imprisonment of Mr. Badawi, whose wife and children now live in Canada.

Amnesty International Canada secretary general Alex Neve said what has happened is a "clear indication that Saudi Arabia remains determined to rebuff and ignore any efforts to improve and address human rights concerns in the country".

"Any further step from the Canadian side in that direction will be considered as acknowledgment of our right to interfere in the Canadian domestic affairs", the Saudis said.

Freeland said on social media last Thursday that she was "alarmed" to hear of Samar Badawi's arrest. Canada also imports $2.6 billion in goods from Saudi Arabia, with the overwhelming majority being mineral products.

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