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Saudi Arabia Expels Canadian Ambassador, To Withdraw Students From Canada Over Women's Rights Criticism

Saudi Arabia has expelled Canada's ambassador, recalled its own envoy and cut off trade ties with Ottawa after the United States neighbour denounced a crackdown on rights activists in the kingdom. They said Canada "plans to seek help from the United Arab Emirates and Britain" in easing tensions with Saudi Arabia.

In 2014, the Conservative government approved a C$15b arms deal that would allow a Canadian company to sell military vehicles to the Saudi government.

Saudi Arabia has said it is freezing all new trade with Canada and expelling its ambassador over its "interference" in the kingdom's domestic affairs.

In recent months, Saudi Arabia has reacted more aggressively against countries that it perceives as intervening in its internal affairs.

While department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said US officials have raised human rights concerns with the Saudis in the past, she stressed that Riyadh and Ottawa "need to diplomatically resolve this together".

Badawi was arrested at the end of July along with fellow Saudi women's rights activist Nassima al Sada.

Canada's decrying the arrest of two female activists in Saudi Arabia clearly rubbed that country the wrong way.

Saudi investments in Canada include G3 Global Holdings Ltd., a joint venture between Bunge Ltd. and Saudi Agricultural & Livestock Investment Co., which purchased the former Canadian Wheat Board in 2015.

Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia's Ministry of Media said in a tweet earlier Monday that it is investigating a Twitter account that posted a photo of an Air Canada plane heading toward the CN Tower, eerily reminiscent of the 9/11 attacks.

"Diplomatic talks continue. we don't want to have poor relations with Saudi Arabia".

"Canada will continue to advocate for human rights and for the fearless women and men who push for these fundamental rights around the world", she said in a statement.

"What we're seeing.is (an) example of growing hyper-nationalism constructed in Saudi Arabia: vigorously defending sovereignty through punitive measures against transnational civil society groups and countries that support them", said Diwan.

"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.

One Middle Eastern grain consultant said the decision was not a great loss to Canada, though.

"I'm very surprised that this decision has been made so quickly, especially because many of them have not concluded their studies", she said.

Saudi Arabia's sudden sharp response to criticism shows the limits of reforms by Saudi Arabia's 32-year-old crown prince Mohammed bin Salman, who runs its day-to-day government.

Momani called it, "getting tough on Canada", which she said other countries in the region might welcome if they view Canadian foreign policy to be led by human rights concerns.

Saudi Arabia stunned officials on Sunday by announcing it was suspending future trade with Canada and severing diplomatic ties.

"There are geopolitics at play, particularly the strategic and theocratic rivalry between Saudi Arabia and Iran".

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