U.S. refuses to back Canada in Saudi Arabia dispute


Some fear Saudi Arabia's actions could jeopardize Canada's controversial, multibillion-dollar arms deal with the Middle Eastern country, described by the previous federal Conservative government as the largest advanced manufacturing export contract in Canadian history.

Riyadh accuses Ottawa of meddling Riyadh accused Ottawa on Tuesday of interfering in its internal affairs.

Saudi Arabia responded by freezing all new trade with Canada and expelling its ambassador over the "interference" in the desert kingdom's domestic affairs, saying it was a violation of the country's sovereignty.

Egypt saw crucial USA military aid frozen previous year over its own human rights record amid one of its toughest ever crackdowns on dissent, but that decision was reversed last month.

Additionally, on Monday it was announced that "training, scholarships and fellowships" for Saudi students in Canada are now being shelved.

In Riyadh, the Saudi Press Agency reported that the Saudi government has briefed 105 foreign ambassador in the country on its position in the dispute. Her brother's wife, Ensaf Haidar, lives in Canada and recently became a Canadian citizen.

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'.

"It is a significant portion of our barley exports", Dahl said, noting the market had been considered a stable market, noting the industry saw growth potential there given ongoing food sustainability concerns within Saudi Arabia.

The Saudi Foreign Ministry made the announcement early Monday, giving Ambassador Dennis Horak 24 hours to leave the kingdom.

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McTeague said the risk of Saudi Arabia causing gas prices to rise is minimal - even locally in New Brunswick - given the "very robust market" globally for crude and Irving Oil's allocation to the US northeast.

Genevieve Paul, the director of Amnesty's francophone branch, points out that pressure is put on the Saudi government when news of such arrests becomes public.

"Both sides need to diplomatically solve this together".

According to an anonymous official who spoke to Canada's Globe and Mail, over 15,000 Saudis study in Canada on scholarships, grants, or in trainee programs funded by the government, while accompanying family members bring the figure to over 20,000 people.

The spat began last week with a tweet from Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland, criticizing Saudi Arabia's crackdown on dissidents and calling for the release of "peaceful #humanrights activists".

The standoff pits a Saudi government that's slowly opening the door to women's rights against Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, an outspoken champion of women's advancement, who named a gender-balanced cabinet shortly after his 2015 election.

Coleman said student numbers for the 2018 fall term have not been finalized.

In Washington, State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert avoided taking a side in the dispute.