Saudi Arabia asks Canadian ambassador to leave

Saudi Arabia asks Canadian ambassador to leave

Saudi Arabia asks Canadian ambassador to leave

Riyadh also suspended new trade and investment with Canada.

In public statements Sunday, Riyadh gave Canadian ambassador Dennis Horak 24 hours to leave the country and recalled its own envoy.

The ministry said it has told the Canadian foreign minister and embassy in Riyadh of its objection to their interference in the case of "civil society activists" who were arrested in the Kingdom.

The move followed vigorous calls by Canada for the immediate release of human rights activists swept up in a new wave of detentions, AFP said.

The ministry considers the Canadian statements as a blatant interference in the Kingdom's internal affairs that violates simple worldwide norms that governs relations between countries.

"We urge the Saudi authorities to immediately release them and all other peaceful #humanrights activists", tweeted the Canadian embassy. The Canadian government did not immediately comment Sunday night in response to the Saudi action.


However, supporters of women's rights were arrested just weeks before the ban was lifted, signaling that only King Salman and his powerful son, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, will decide the pace of change.

Bilateral trade between Canada and Saudi Arabia surpassed $4 billion last year, in part due to a controversial 2014 arms deal worth $15 billion over several years.

It said it will not accept any form of interference in its internal affairs and considers the Canadian position "an attack" requiring a firm stance to deter "attempts to undermine the sovereignty" of Saudi Arabia.

The Saudi statement said it confirmed its commitment to refrain from intervening in the internal matters of other countries, including Canada, and in return rejected any intervention in its domestic affairs and internal relations with its citizens.

"Very alarmed to learn that Samar Badawi, Raif Badawi's sister, has been imprisoned in Saudi Arabia", Freeland wrote on Twitter. Canada also imports $2.6 billion in goods from Saudi Arabia, with the overwhelming majority being mineral products.

"We are seriously concerned by these media reports and are seeking greater clarity on the recent statement from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia", said Marie-Pier Baril. More than a dozen women's rights activists have been targeted since May. "The legitimate rights (of those arrested) have not been denied and they were provided with all guarantees during the investigation and trial stages", the statement said.

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