Saudi education ministry: Plan already in action to transfer students from Canada

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The clash between Saudi Arabia and Canada is intensifying and has provoked Saudi Airlines to suspend flights to and from Canada starting August 13.

Freeland's comments come a day after Saudi Arabia made the decision in retaliation to a Global Affairs Canada tweet that expressed concerns about the arrests of activists in the kingdom.

The state airline operates at least two routes flying from Toronto.

Late last week, Canadian officials began publicly pressing the Kingdom to release women's rights activists from around Saudi Arabia, who've been swept up and jailed as Mohammed bin Salman, the crown prince, consolidates his power and cracks down on dissenters.

Since Monday social media has been saturated by the surprising news that Saudi Arabia chose to expel the Canadian ambassador, along with freezing trade and investment ties with Canada.

"We will always speak up for human rights, we will always speak up for women's rights around the world", she told reporters in Vancouver.

The Saudi Foreign Ministry took exception to the use of the term "immediately release", calling it "unfortunate, reprehensible, and unacceptable in relations between states".

His wife, Ensaf Haidar, and three children were granted Canadian citizenship earlier this summer, and live in Quebec's Eastern Townships.

The European Commission said it's seeking clarification about the arrest of activists in Saudi Arabia. Raif Badawi, who won Europe's top human rights prize in 2015, was later sentenced to 10 years in prison and 1,000 lashes for insulting Islam while blogging.

All Saudi Arabian students now studying in Canada will be transferred to other countries. "And of course, Irving sells most of its product into the United States, not Canada", he said.

Canada's largest refinery in Saint John, N.B., owned by Irving Oil, relies on Saudi Arabia for almost 40 per cent of its crude supply, according 2018 statistics from the National Energy Board. "And by hitting Canada - which is big enough to matter but small enough not to be a risk to Saudi - he sends a message elsewhere", Kliment said. Both the Saudi and Canadian ambassadors were away on leave at the time.

Thomas Juneau, an assistant professor and Middle East expert at the University of Ottawa, said Saudi irritation at the way the General Dynamics contract was handled also helped explain Riyadh's response.

"These countries are able to host the students, and we at the ministry are committed to facilitating the students' transfers so they can easily complete their education", he said.

Paul stressed the situation is worse when the government does what it wants in secret and is not singled out for alleged human rights violations.

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