Saudi Arabia-Canada spat explained

Saudi Arabia-Canada spat explained

Saudi Arabia-Canada spat explained

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.

Also, as of Monday, all flights between Saudi Arabia and Toronto will be suspended.

At the same time, it sends a strong message to European countries but also countries in the Middle East not to "mess" with Saudi Arabia, Juneau said.

Canadian Foreign Affairs Minister Chrystia Freeland issued a statement later in the day refusing to walk back Canada's stance.

Riyadh said that amounted to "blatant interference in the Kingdom's domestic affairs, against basic global norms and all worldwide protocols".

Saudi Arabia's main state wheat buying agency has told grains exporters it will no longer buy Canadian wheat and barley in its global tenders, European traders said on Tuesday, as a diplomatic dispute between the two countries escalates.

Several Arab nations in the region have expressed support for their Saudi allies in the dispute with Canada.

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"Canadians expect our foreign policy to be driven by and to embody Canadian values, and that is how we intend to continue our foreign policy".

Amnesty International said Samar Badawi, the sister of jailed blogger Raif Badawi, was recently detained along with Nassima al-Sada, another prominent female activist.

A pro-government Saudi Twitter account then provoked outrage when it posted - and then deleted - a 9/11-style digitally altered image showing a plane flying towards the Toronto skyline. "We are always going to speak up for human rights; we're always going to speak up for women's rights; and that is not going to change", she said.

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

Saudi Arabia responded by suspending flights between the two countries, moving thousands of Saudi students studying at Canadian schools and withdrawing the Saudi ambassador to Canada, Reuters reported. "The Saudis are brash and somewhat insecure, but they know they are an important country", Steinberg said.

Canada last week said it was "gravely concerned" over a new wave of arrests, including award-winning gender rights activist Samar Badawi, pictured left. But Qatar, which is locked in a diplomatic rift with Saudi Arabia and other neighbors for over a year, said on its foreign ministry's official Twitter account that the GCC secretary general's statement did not represent its view of the situation. His wife, Ensaf Haidar, lives in Canada and received Canadian citizenship in July.

Saudi neighbours Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates have voiced solidarity with Riyadh, according to media reports. On the one hand, the Saudi leadership has become "insecure" and "paranoid", he told DW, but it is also possible that the "Saudis have had enough of Western criticism".

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